Elections often have candidates promising much but delivering little afterwards.
We expect results, not rhetoric. Yet, all have a responsibility to democracy and to the health and well being of our country and communities by contributing ourselves or ideas.
Still, good intentions aside, none of us need reinvent the wheel to solve pressing issues.
Case in point: Coldstream Coun. Doug Dirk’s letter on recycling mentioned other Okanagan communities already enacted better options to the blue box with their wheeled, lidded containers. Plus, these communities have them not only for recycling and garbage but for compostable materials too. Why not here? Why not now?
In fact, local councils, why not emulate and implement strategies on a whole host of issues which have already been costed and deemed successful by area and Okanagan councils such as some free downtown parking; real bus shelters, not just bus stops; street lights in more neighbourhoods; streets which are not a patchwork of paving; more parks and public walkways; re-zoning for multi family, laneway, co-op and affordable housing; attracting high paying, tech or green jobs (and while comparing close-by communities, investigate Vernon higher gas prices and lack of wineries for tourism/festival revenue).
The tax base for Vernon and Coldstream has grown exponentially over decades, but other than streetscaping and bike lanes, which are wonderful enhancements, it is not always easy to discern improvements to the town cores on environmental or economic fronts.
Attracting multi-generational families to live and shop downtown Vernon is a constant challenge without expanded family retail and housing along with effective street policies.
Coldstream, with a population and tax base similar to Winfield, still has the small group of town centre buildings (some newer versions) and hourly bus service to Vernon as 40 years ago despite planners, politicians, public input and Official Community Plan goals.
Many prefer the status quo while others feel loving your community does not preclude envisioning some sustainable progress or enhancements for now and into the future.
A permanent farm/craft market with other services can still be “rural living at its best.”
Common regional challenges of economic development, tourism, climate change, water woes, fire mitigation, drugs, homelessness, shelters, attractive jobs and affordable housing would benefit from a Valley Council forum and may result in short- and long-term solutions encompassing any available savings or grants to mitigate costs to the taxpayer.
Get all the stakeholders together and collaborate, then initiate ideas such as implementing more clean energy such as solar and wind power; utilizing cisterns and water barrels; portable housing (as used for athletes) for homeless housing; creating high density core zoning and establishing agricultural, artistic and economic regional policies for our entire, incomparable Hwy. 97 corridor. Put talk into action with viable, visible results.
As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or not, you are right.”