waterfallsWelcome to Tapping the Groundswell (TTG), a project of the Powell River Diversity Initiative. TTG is a seven-month project that features two significant pieces. The first is a conference to be held on April 1/2 at the Powell River Recreation Complex. The conference will serve as a key feeder stream as we build toward a social plan for Powell River. Conference speakers and listeners will engage with Powell Riverites, gathering ideas on building a social plan that Powell River’s City Council/Regional District can draw on as they decide how best to address pressing social issues.

The second key piece of TTG is a report on social planning for Powell River – to be completed and shared widely in June 2016.

Social plans can be many things and ours will need to be focused. They can span everything from efforts to reduce child poverty to expanding the availability of affordable/suitable housing to food security to caring for and with those who deal with mental health and/or addiction issues to transportation to reconciliation with First Nations to ensuring that newcomers from around the world are warmly welcomed into the heart of our community. And more.

The Team

Tapping the Groundswell is led by project coordinator John Young. John recently moved to Powell River from Ottawa where he was Director of Communications and Outreach for Oxfam Canada. John has worked on social and environmental justice issues for twenty+ years in Canada, the United States and Europe. He was the founding Executive Director of ACORN Canada and held advisory positions in the B.C. premier’s office and in the office of a national party leader in Ottawa.

John leads a committed team of three people: Lisa MacDougall is the project researcher. Mike Brown is the project community engager. Mark Brown is the conference planner.

Lyn Adamson is the Executive Director of the Powell River Diversity Initiative and the Powell River Employment Program. Lyn is a tireless advocate and community leader who brings many years of experience and dedication to the non-profit world, where she and the organizations she leads strive to serve the citizens of Powell River in a wide variety of ways every day.

Key Issues

Over the last twenty+ years, communities across Canada have been left to deal with the consequences of provincial and federal governments stepping away from a range of long held responsibilities. Things like social housing and support for people facing mental health and addiction issues. Cities and towns have seen the impact of the shift away from a more comprehensive social safety net to one that has become badly frayed. And while local governments do not have the official responsibility, legislative range or financial resources to fully address these challenges, they nonetheless find themselves on the front lines of caring for the most vulnerable in our society.

Social planning and social development strategies span many issues and areas. Everything from poverty and addictions to food security, housing, transportation, reconciliation with First Nations and many other vital aspects of life in our modern society.


We will focus our efforts on a few key areas where a new social plan for Powell River might concentrate, including the following:

Child Poverty

Here in British Columbia, we have had one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country for a number of years. And the child poverty rate in Powell River is higher than in almost any other part of the province. Our work will look squarely at how we got here and how we can care better for the most vulnerable among us, the children in our community.


As our community changes, there are many aspects of housing that we will be looking at: affordable housing, social housing and suitable housing – to name a few. We know that current rental housing stock is insufficient to meet the needs of our community. And we know that affordability is a growing problem for many.

Reconciliation with First Nations

As Tapping the Groundswell digs into social planning, our neighbours – Tla’amin Nation – are beginning the process of self government after the conclusion of treaty negotiations. Any work on social planning anywhere in Canada should look closely at reconciliation with First Nations. How do we spend time together understanding one another in the wake of cultural genocide and the legacy of residential schools? Whether it is by every Canadian taking part in the profoundly moving Blanket Exercise or whether it is through all levels of government, including local governments like Powell River City Council, endorsing and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People – as Canadians the work of reconciliation is a present day opportunity and responsibility.

The Conference


The Tapping the Groundswell Conference will take place at Powell River's Recreation Complex on April 1/2 2016. Please click here to read the short conference discussion paper.

The conference begins Friday afternoon at 1:00 and closes that day at 4:00. The conference resumes Saturday April 2 at 9:00 and wraps up at 4:00.

The conference will bring together friends and neighbours, families, newcomers, old timers, elected officials, social planning experts – all of us together looking at what is happening in our community and what we need to do to ensure we preserve what is best about life here while doing a better job for and with those who are most vulnerable in our society.

Featured conference speakers include Tla'amin Nation elder Elsie Paul and FirstCall BC's Adrienne Montani.

If you wish to attend the Conference please register in advance by contacting Mark Brown, our Conference Planner. Space will be limited so please register early. There will be no conference fee - admission is free. Child care will be provided as will lunch on Saturday.

For information about the conference and volunteering please contact
Conference Planner Mark Brown: mark@prdisociety.org

Learn More

There are literally thousands of excellent sources of information and resources on a wide array of social planning issues. We’ve provided a few links and signposts that we have found in the hope that some might be useful to you as you learn more about the wide world of social planning. We’ll add more resources here as the project proceeds and as we hear from the community about what is most helpful.

And – please click here to read the short discussion paper prepared for the April 1/2 conference at the Recreation Complex.

Getting Involved


To REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE or to volunteer for the April 1/2 Conference or to get involved with our community engagement work please contact:

Mark Brown – Conference Planner: mark@prdisociety.org

Mike Brown – Community Engager: mike@prdisociety.org

Please click here for an online survey about life in Powell River and social planning priorities. The survey will take you 10 to 15 minutes to complete. And thanks so much – your response is important to us!

Contact Us

moonFor inquiries please contact Mike Brown at 604 414 7598 or mike@prdisociety.org

Our mailing address is:

Tapping the Groundswell
Powell River Diversity Initiative
103 – 4511 Marine Avenue
Powell River, B.C.
V8A 2K5