My post from Nov 19th 2005, the day I was first elected to city council...
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
It feels a little disproportionate to quote Dr King in writing about the recent referendum on a proposed performing arts centre in Kamloops. On the evening of Saturday Nov 7th, however, I was desperately searching for ways to describe how I felt about some of the reactions I was reading on the Internet about the failure of the proposal to pass in the referendum.
There was a lot of finger pointing and offence taking at those who voted no in the referendum. There was a lot of minimizing any rationale for voting no. There was talk of misinformation being spread.
I understand the time, energy, and money that those who supported the performing arts centre proposal put into the project. I personally strongly supported the project although as some local pundits have opined, I perhaps should have done more to campaign for it. I understand the strong emotions that come with a loss of something many dearly wanted. Thank you to everyone who stood strongly in support.
Sweepingly dehumanizing the reasons of those who did not support the proposal, though, gets us exactly nowhere moving forward. My fervent hope is that many were captured by the heat of the moment. If we are ever to get to a plan b, those who of us who supported the failed proposal need to value and better understand the reasons why many of our fellow citizens did not support it. And we have to work to earn more of their support. I don’t see any other way.
So, I also want to extend my thanks and my hand of friendship to those who voted no. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to respectfully ask some of you how a performing arts centre might gain your support in the future. I feel that might have been a question asked too soon in some cases. Simply put, I am keenly interested in being part of continued efforts to build what I feel would be an incredible community amenity.
Another word for love, in some cases, might be respect. The performing arts centre issue is not the only one where I would encourage everyone to respect others. The Ajax mine proposal is likely coming to a head in 2016. And we will be tested as a community. My strong view is that we are better together, living with respect for each other, even / especially when we have a great diversity of views.
There is an amazing treasure trove of history and information about Kamloops currently being collected. We are in the process of updating our official community plan and we have got an amazing and diverse group of people leading the process.
I’ve had the good fortune of visiting many communities in BC. What strikes me in every village, district, or city I visit: they each have quite a different “personality”, a different look and feel.
How does Kamloops feel to you? Do you know how our community has developed it distinct look and feel? Do you want to have some input and influence on how we develop in the future?
Our official community plan is called Kamplan. The Kamplan advisory committee has been meeting over the past 18 months to help guide the work.
City staff have created a central webpage for all the information on the Kamplan update so far. The address is http://www.kamloops.ca/kamplan/update.shtml. On the left hand column of that page, the links take you to an amazing amount of information on Kamloops.
I’m a particular fan of the “conversation starters”, which provide summaries of different interests, topics, and sectors. Topics like economic development, arts and culture, safety and emergency services, housing and much more.
These are meant to be thought provoking, to help citizens develop their own views and to hopefully be inspired to provide input.
Perhaps, you have already had the opportunity to provide some input to phase one of the Kamplan update process. Thank you! There will be many more opportunities. Watch the webpage above and the local media.
If you want to provide immediate input or want more information, feel free to get me anytime at 250 320 6532 or at email@example.com.
photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmwm/14766879212/sizes/l
Should Kamloops institute a ban on cosmetic pesticide use? This is a question which I encourage Kamloops citizens to think about over the next month. I would welcome you to share your thoughts with me.
I have had no greater honour in my life than being elected to Kamloops City Council. City councillors get to discuss and work on an amazing range of issues. And, on your behalf, we all have the ability to influence policy and action. There are no “backbenchers”.
I have been doubly honoured by my local government colleagues across the province to have been elected to the board of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). Every September, there is a lot of media attention on the UBCM because that is the month of the annual convention.
It is quite an amazing convention actually - the one place, every year, where all levels of government, all BC political parties, many companies and non profits converge. At my first UBCM convention in 2006, I was struck by the amazing diversity and richness of the event. The whole province is represented at a UBCM convention.
The UBCM, however, exists for much more than a convention. The UBCM board and staff represent BC local governments in a multi-faceted relationship with Provincial Government. We also facilitate the sharing of information among BC local governments.
I just arrived back from our last board meetings in Victoria. Along with our own meetings, we also met with provincial MLAs and Ministers. We highlighted the issues of mental health and policing, land based spill preparedness and response, and funding for infrastructure projects.
Also serving on the UBCM board from Kamloops is Councillor Marg Spina. Additionally, Thompson Nicola Regional District Vice Chair Willow McDonald was elected to the board last year. They have been amazing colleagues who thoughtfully and actively participate.
The three of us also serve on the UBCM First Nations Relations Committee. The committee has been active in promoting reconciliation efforts that recognize the great wrongs done to Aboriginal Peoples and foster a desire for us all to move forward in a good way.
With recent court decisions, it seems pretty clear to me that all levels of government, and those we represent, will have to work very hard to create and maintain strong and positive relationships with BC’s Aboriginal Peoples. Their inherent rights can no longer be ignored.
For more on the work of the UBCM, visit www.ubcm.ca.