Community – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:16:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 A big thanks from Big Brothers Big Sisters http://www.ngtimes.ca/big-thanks-big-brothers-big-sisters/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/big-thanks-big-brothers-big-sisters/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:17:56 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10360 Leanne Trimble, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Big Brothers Big Sisters, has been brought to tears once again by the endless support that our community continually shows to our organization, as well as to the children in our community . Throughout North Grenville, Big Brothers Big Sisters has placed Giving Christmas trees in different locations […]

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Leanne Trimble, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Big Brothers Big Sisters, has been brought to tears once again by the endless support that our community continually shows to our organization, as well as to the children in our community . Throughout North Grenville, Big Brothers Big Sisters has placed Giving Christmas trees in different locations to help support children in our local community. Through your generous donations, so many children will have an extra special Christmas this year. We would like to say thank you the TD Bank Kemptville, Scotia Bank Kemptville, CIBC Kemptville, Royal Bank Kemptville, North Grenville Municipal Centre, and École élémentaire publique Rivière Rideau for supporting us this year. The BBBS elves will be busy distributing these gifts to all the urban and rural schools in our municipality. Thank you again everyone, and Merry Christmas.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Leeds and Grenville is always looking for volunteers to help in the following ways: in school mentors, skill mentor, teaching children a skill, traditional big brother or big sister. If you have the availability of an hour or two a week, or month, we would love to hear from you. Contact Leanne.trimble@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

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Lay your burden down http://www.ngtimes.ca/lay-your-burden-down/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/lay-your-burden-down/#comments Wed, 25 Oct 2017 18:57:47 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9123 The municipal Council have had a lot to deal with recently. In the last Committee of the Whole meeting, issues discussed included a new Official Plan, Budget issues, an Economic Development Review, the future of a heritage building, the annual report on Kemptville’s water supply, and a number of other topics. The briefing package which […]

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The municipal Council have had a lot to deal with recently. In the last Committee of the Whole meeting, issues discussed included a new Official Plan, Budget issues, an Economic Development Review, the future of a heritage building, the annual report on Kemptville’s water supply, and a number of other topics. The briefing package which is given to Council containing all the materials they need to review for a meeting, ran to 265 pages last week. This week’s Council package was 243 pages long. That’s a lot of reading to get through in the few days before making decisions in Council.

For the public, these packages are made available on the municipality’s website on the Friday before the Monday night meetings, not a lot of time to know what’s happening that week, and whether there is anything coming up you need to be aware of. The issues raised in these packages can have long-term consequences for residents, such as the upcoming Official Plan review. The Municipality, meaning in this case, primarily municipal staff, have decided that an update is not good enough. These plans are meant to be updated every five years, but this time it will be a repeal and replace process.

There is more about the municipal plans for the future elsewhere in this issue, but here I wanted to point out the workload that our Council has to carry on a weekly basis. I have said it many times before, but it seems to me an almost impossible job for each member of Council to adequately come to grips with the issues they face, given the time constraints and the many responsibilities outside of formal meetings which they have to meet.

Municipal staff, and possibly councillors also, will perhaps not agree with this, but it seems that the most important people in setting the agenda for North Grenville are not our elected council, but municipal staff, in particular, our Chief Administrative Officer, Brian Carré. We are fortunate in having as CAO someone who has the experience and expertise to carry out that position with more than average ability. Someone else in that position might not be as able, and then the situation would indeed be serious.

Many of the complaints that are heard about Council’s decisions (see the article about the response on Facebook to the Vichos honey story) are not, in some ways, Council’s fault. They are burdened with so many issues, so much information to absorb in a short time, that very often they simply have to accept staff recommendations, without necessarily being able to fully grasp the implications of their vote.

This is not a reflection on the abilities, commitment, or attitude of individual councillors, which, of course, vary greatly from one to another. But the system under which they operate is becoming more and more inadequate for the purpose. Asking any five individuals to do that job under those circumstances is unrealistic. Any time this idea has been mooted in the past, there have been assurances from members of Council that, of course, they are perfectly capable of doing the work, but history has shown this to be untrue.

What can be done? Two things spring to mind immediately. Return to a system in which more residents, with the right skills, can be on Committees of Council, to discuss and analyse the issues before they get to Council. Allow these committees to consult with others in the community, draw up recommendations for council, in co-operation with the relevant municipal staff, and then council can discuss and vote based on informed opinion, and not simply in response to staff recommendations.

Secondly, add two members to Council in order to spread out the workload. Council are spending $40,000 on a road to the dog park; that would cover the cost of two councillors this year. Which is the more important item for the community as a whole? Now, naturally, it is not just a matter of numbers: the quality of the councillors is vital too. We need people who know and are involved in the community already, and not just those who would like the idea of being on Council. We need people with vision and energy, not someone to sit in a chair for a decade without coming up with a single idea of their own.

Ego and ambition are not sufficient qualities, we need more from our municipal representatives. We need people who actually listen to the concerns of the public – and act on those concerns. To date, consultation means giving the public a chance to have a say, and then ignoring them and doing what was previously decided upon. The fact that many people dread the idea of a larger council shows how little regard there is abroad for the way things are now. But more of the same is not what is needed; we need a new approach entirely, a new vision of what municipal government is about. It really can happen.

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Friendship lunches begin a new era http://www.ngtimes.ca/friendship-lunches-begin-new-era/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/friendship-lunches-begin-new-era/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 19:37:18 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=8548 New season, new venue. The community Friendship Lunch, formerly held at Leslie Hall on Fridays, hosted its first lunch of the year in the hall at St. John’s United Church on September 15. These lunches are made possible by five local churches: St. James Anglican, Holy Cross Catholic, Kemptville Pentecostal Tabernacle, Salvation Army, and St. […]

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New season, new venue. The community Friendship Lunch, formerly held at Leslie Hall on Fridays, hosted its first lunch of the year in the hall at St. John’s United Church on September 15. These lunches are made possible by five local churches: St. James Anglican, Holy Cross Catholic, Kemptville Pentecostal Tabernacle, Salvation Army, and St. John’s United, and welcome everyone to share in good food and fellowship. Please join us at 400 Prescott St. every Friday at 11:30. Hope to see you there.

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Celebrating community and diversity http://www.ngtimes.ca/celebrating-community-diversity/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/celebrating-community-diversity/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:52:31 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=7362 by Melissa Francis What makes a community welcoming and inclusive? This was a question posed at a St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership community feedback event hosted in the Fall of 2016. An engaged group of immigrants, local residents, service providers, students, local elected officials, and business owners attended the event to discuss the current […]

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by Melissa Francis

What makes a community welcoming and inclusive? This was a question posed at a St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership community feedback event hosted in the Fall of 2016. An engaged group of immigrants, local residents, service providers, students, local elected officials, and business owners attended the event to discuss the current and future state of welcoming and inclusive communities in Leeds Grenville. A common theme emerged from these discussions – that to enhance the sense of belonging for residents of all backgrounds, local communities should be doing more to recognize and celebrate the diversity of individuals living in Leeds Grenville.

This suggestion spurred the St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership to launch the community-driven campaign ‘We Are Neighbours’.

As part of this Campaign that was launched on July 5, Immigration Partnership staff will be interviewing individuals from each of the 13 Leeds Grenville municipalities. Longtime residents, new and established immigrants, business owners, and students will contribute their stories and opinions to this initiative. The interviews will provide participants with the opportunity to share their stories and experiences of living in Leeds Grenville, in addition to providing friendly advice to people new to the area.

Participants who arrived in Leeds Grenville from elsewhere in Canada, or elsewhere around the globe, will be encouraged to share their settlement story, or what brought them to their current destination. To date, participants from Kemptville, Merrickville and Brockville have been interviewed. It is hoped that by showcasing stories from different people across Leeds Grenville, residents will find pride and excitement in the diversity of people, experiences, skills and lifestyles that exist locally. Diversity has long been a Canadian strength – culturally, socially, politically and economically. It is also a Leeds Grenville strength.

The Campaign will extend its reach into Leeds Grenville communities in the Fall, when a community engagement display filled with the stories and photos gathered during initial Campaign stages will be hosted at public spaces across the region. The North Grenville Public Library, public libraries within the Township of Rideau Lakes, the Brockville Public Library, and the Brockville & Area YMCA have all agreed to work with the Immigration Partnership to provide a public space for people to view the display and to enjoy different activities that celebrate community and diversity.

The Immigration Partnership welcomes partnerships with other organizations who may be interested in hosting the display for a week or more. The schedule for the community engagement display will be shared soon.

To view the weekly Campaign posts and to learn more about the campaign, people are encouraged to visit www.weareneighbours.weebly.com, or the St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership Facebook page www.facebook.com/LGimmigration.

General inquiries regarding the St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership can be directed to Melissa Francis, Program Manager – melissaf@eecentre.com or 613.498.2111.

The St. Lawrence – Rideau Immigration Partnership is a coalition of area organizations that works to attract immigrants to Leeds and Grenville and provides services that facilitate their successful settlement. The Immigration Partnership is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

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Terry Butler http://www.ngtimes.ca/terry-butler/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/terry-butler/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:57:00 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=6202 This community has lost a champion with the passing of Terry Butler. Someone who gave so much in time, energy and sheer hard work will be extremely difficult to replace, because he was quite a special kind of man. You can find people who disagreed with him on some things, others who found his style […]

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This community has lost a champion with the passing of Terry Butler. Someone who gave so much in time, energy and sheer hard work will be extremely difficult to replace, because he was quite a special kind of man. You can find people who disagreed with him on some things, others who found his style too low key and accommodating at times. But you will have to look very hard and long to find anyone who disliked him.

I got to know Terry after he was elected to the North Grenville Council in 2003. Running for election to council was, in itself, a major decision for Terry, who had his own business to run and for whom time spent on Council would come at a great cost, personally and professionally. He was elected at the same time as Peter Nicol, and the two men formed a natural partnership. Both had a dedication to community and the people of North Grenville that predated their political initiation, and both had a personal commitment that promised great things for the municipality.

Their first experience was not a good one: their newness allowed the Community Grants program that existed at the time to be cut, and Terry never forgot that lesson. When Peter died within a year of the election, Terry had to carry on alone, often in the face of strong obstruction from his fellow-council members.

In his time on Council, Terry probably worked harder than any councillor, before or since. He was on so many committees, it is hard to know how he kept everything going. In many ways, I thought him to be a lone advocate for his community, a sole voice for compassion, generosity of spirit, and a willingness to see North Grenville as much more than just a corporation with an eye only on the bottom line.

He was inspired by people like the late Terry McEvoy, who shared his own vision with his namesake, and after Terry McEvoy’s sudden death in 2009, Councillor Terry carried on with the concept of the Giving Garden, which remains in operation at the Ferguson Forest Centre on County Road 43. As part of the Kemptville 150 Committee, Terry committed himself to the legacy projects originating in that time, including the Trails System, the Anniversary Park in the FFC, and also in establishing the Ryan’s Well project in the grounds of Kemptville College.

Few people, other than those watching municipal council in those days, realised how hard Terry had to fight at times against the others at the council table. He was given some really impossible jobs, especially that of trying to sell the naming rights to various rooms in the Municipal Centre. Completely unrealistic targets were set for him, and some very unfair criticism was leveled when they were proven to be so. Naming rights to the theatre were set at $250,000, for example. When you consider that those rights have since been sold for just $7,500 per year for five years, it is clear what a challenge Terry faced.

But the challenges he believed in, those he was very willing to fight for. I can remember vividly the stubborn resistance he put up to attempts by the mayor and council to end the lease agreement with the Ferguson Forest Centre Board, when plans were being hinted at that the property would be sold to developers. Working with the FFC Board, Terry fought long and hard to give the FFC a new and long-term lease that would enable the Centre to continue operating in the future, and continue to provide the people of North Grenville with a magnificent green space in the heart of their community.

Someone said to me recently that people who work in retail should not go into politics, because their profession emphasises the need to keep everyone happy and avoiding conflict and confrontation. Perhaps that was true of Terry. He worked extremely hard to carry that approach into his life on Council, in spite of the difficult and sometimes harsh treatment he received there, and no matter how difficult it was at times to hold his tongue and be a team player. The fact that he did so was sometimes a source of upset to others who wanted him to speak out more. But that was Terry: he just got down to work, took whatever was thrown at him, and kept working for the people of North Grenville. It is a genuine pity that he didn’t have the support of equally caring and compassionate colleagues: it would have made his time in public service more enjoyable and more rewarding.

Nevertheless, Terry believed so much in the people of his municipality that he put in the long hours in meetings, in travel, and in discussion in the Victorian Pantry that he believed were simply part of his job. Quiet, unassuming, often very funny in private conversations about the things he couldn’t talk about in council, Terry Butler served his neighbours and friends faithfully and well. He believed in the potential of North Grenville. He believed in reaching out, not waiting for people to come to council. Unlike so many others, he never stopped seeing his role as serving the people. And he never stopped being true to himself.

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Economic development programming review http://www.ngtimes.ca/economic-development-programming-review/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/economic-development-programming-review/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=5906 Economic development can be defined as “efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community through the attraction of investment and the creation and/or retention of jobs that increase the incomes of residents and the tax revenues of the municipality”. The Municipality of North Grenville has an Economic Development (Eco Dev) […]

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Economic development can be defined as “efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community through the attraction of investment and the creation and/or retention of jobs that increase the incomes of residents and the tax revenues of the municipality”. The Municipality of North Grenville has an Economic Development (Eco Dev) department that is part of the larger Planning and Development department. At the recent North Grenville Economic Development Breakfast, judging by the presentations, it sounded like the department was getting positive results from its efforts.

Therefore, when Phil Gerrard, the Director of Planning and Development, announced publicly on April 12 that the Eco Dev department would be going through a programming review, it raised a few eyebrows. Gerrard said that he anticipated that the review would take 90-120 days to complete (projected May 1 to August 18) and that it would be an internal review conducted by the two Eco Dev staff members. He also stressed that this was a programming review, not a review of the department itself.

The announcement was made to the Economic Development Advisory Committee (who advise Council on matters of economic development) at their bi-monthly meeting. The reason for the raised eyebrows was because of the suddenness of the announcement and because of the curious timing (why now?). Adding to the concern was learning of the cancellation of the next Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) meeting in June. The meeting for mid August is also in jeopardy as the review is expected to last until just a few days after that meeting is scheduled. There’s still a chance that the meetings could take place, but the Eco Dev staff would not be available to set the agenda, provide reports and updates or to take the minutes of the meeting. It would be up to the members of the committee to perform those functions themselves. If the committee was willing, Phil said that it would be no problem to have those meetings.

The timing of the review is interesting because late spring and summer (the timeframe covered by the review) can be the busiest times of the year for businesses in tourism, retail, restaurants and the construction industry. Though the Eco Dev department doesn’t necessarily support all of these areas directly, there are current programs like the Eco Dev Marketing Plan, Downtown Business Attraction Strategy (BAS) and the Community

Improvement Plan (CIP) Grant Program that could potentially be affected. Phil stated that the CIP is a priority and is ‘business as usual’ for that specific program, but the other two will be on a “fight fires as they happen” basis. There’s also the Pop Up Shop program that the Old Town Kemptville BIA is trying to launch this summer. The project is BIA-driven, but would probably need support from Eco Dev staff.

Part of the reason for the review is the desire to assess what programs (past and present) were working and what ones weren’t/didn’t (including the EDAC). There has never been a review of the programming of Eco Dev since its creation in 2010. The Municipality thought that the timing was right and wanted to be sure that the limited resources that are being spent on Eco Dev are producing positive results. On the outside, it appears that there are positive results, but I guess we’ll find out more in the fall.

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19th Annual Sweetheart Brunch http://www.ngtimes.ca/19th-annual-sweetheart-brunch/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/19th-annual-sweetheart-brunch/#respond Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:56:18 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3382 Looking for a delicious brunch, live entertainment and a great way to support the North Grenville Community? For the nineteenth consecutive year, the North Grenville Community Sweetheart Brunch will take place on Sunday, February 12, 8:30 am – 1 pm at the North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Road # 44, Kemptville. This annual event, […]

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Looking for a delicious brunch, live entertainment and a great way to support the North Grenville Community? For the nineteenth consecutive year, the North Grenville Community Sweetheart Brunch will take place on Sunday, February 12, 8:30 am – 1 pm at the North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Road # 44, Kemptville.

This annual event, organized by the Knights of Columbus, Holy Cross Council 5333, with the help of teams of wonderful volunteers, is made possible by many generous sponsors, including Tallman Truck Centre, G. Tackaberry and Sons Construction Company and O’Farrell Financial Services.

Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children (6 – 11 years), and under 6, free! Admission includes a delicious smorgasbord of food, exciting live entertainment, a draw for cash prizes and a fabulous opportunity to support numerous local charities and community initiatives. What a sweetheart deal!

Tickets are available at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Colonnade Branch, Kemptville. All tickets sold at the Bank will be matched in value by the Bank. The Committee is very grateful for this ongoing support and encourages you to purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets will also be available at the door.

See you at the North Grenville Community Sweetheart Brunch, Sunday, Feb. 12!

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MPP Clark’s annual Christmas open house http://www.ngtimes.ca/mpp-clarks-annual-christmas-open-house/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/mpp-clarks-annual-christmas-open-house/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 23:47:59 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=2910 Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark is inviting everyone in the riding to take a break from the busy holiday season by taking a timeout to visit his seventh annual Community Christmas Open House. The event is free of charge, open to the entire community, and takes place on Sunday, December 4 from 3-5 p.m. Once again […]

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Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark is inviting everyone in the riding to take a break from the busy holiday season by taking a timeout to visit his seventh annual Community Christmas Open House.

The event is free of charge, open to the entire community, and takes place on Sunday, December 4 from 3-5 p.m. Once again this year, the open house is being held at the Brockville Convention Centre, 7829 Kent Boulevard.

“I look forward to my Christmas open house every year, because it’s a great chance to catch up with everyone, enjoy some wonderful food and refreshments, hear some excellent local entertainment, and even spend time with Santa,” Steve said.

As with his past Christmas receptions, MPP Clark is asking everyone to bring along non-perishable food items and canned goods to support the local food banks that will have volunteers in attendance.

“Leeds-Grenville residents are incredibly generous and this gives us a chance to help the food banks with their remarkable efforts to assist families in need at this time of year,” Steve added.

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What is the ReStore (Habitat for Humanity) http://www.ngtimes.ca/what-is-the-restore-habitat-for-humanity/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/what-is-the-restore-habitat-for-humanity/#respond Sun, 06 Mar 2016 15:51:26 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=1051 This week we sat down with Mario Zambonin of the ReStore and Habitat for Humanity to talk about the store, volunteering and a new project in the works. — Video Created By: http://www.businesscontent.ca Micheal Pacitto and Vanessa McCutcheon The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ngtimes

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This week we sat down with Mario Zambonin of the ReStore and Habitat for Humanity to talk about the store, volunteering and a new project in the works.

Video Created By: http://www.businesscontent.ca
Micheal Pacitto and Vanessa McCutcheon

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United we stand http://www.ngtimes.ca/united-we-stand/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/united-we-stand/#respond Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:57:14 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=767 One month down and eleven more to go, and already we’re seeing some movement in this green and growing community of ours. Ideas are being expressed publicly, debated, even stolen from others in some cases. But we’re talking together, throwing out possibilities, taking a closer look at where we’re at, and where we think we […]

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One month down and eleven more to go, and already we’re seeing some movement in this green and growing community of ours. Ideas are being expressed publicly, debated, even stolen from others in some cases. But we’re talking together, throwing out possibilities, taking a closer look at where we’re at, and where we think we might go from here.

In this week’s issue, we have an article about co-operatives, a letter about not waiting for others to get started, and we’ve already heard from the Mayor and Warden about amalgamation possibilities. It is quite encouraging that a lot of the discussion includes individuals who had run for Council (twice!) But remain involved in the dialogue. It is equally encouraging to see the municipality, both council and staff, open to that dialogue and prepared to enter into the process in a more approachable manner.

The bottom line of all of this is that we may be starting to understand that we’re all in this together, that we can’t afford to leave anyone out, because this country, province and municipality is going through a time of challenge and change, of possibilities and options. If our elected representatives are to lead the way through the political and structural changes that seem to be heading our way, then they need the support and involvement of the community. It is no longer enough for that side of the social equation to believe they can do it alone, and that public involvement would be interference.

But if the community is to play that role, they need to have confidence in the political and bureaucratic element too. And that only comes when we feel we are being kept informed, included and genuinely consulted. That seems to be happening now in a way that hasn’t been the case before. The key, always, is to be informed, otherwise informed consent is impossible, and informed consent from the people is what the municipality really need to keep going.

There are, of course, still many obstacles in the way of a true democratic, community-based system. The past casts a long and dark shadow, and it is not easy to let go of suspicion and cynicism. It is not easy to learn to trust one another and give one another the benefit of the doubt. But it is essential.

There are people we need to work with whose ideas and philosophy we deeply disagree. There are so many divisions, both natural and artificial, to which we have to cater. It is not a matter of all becoming alike and in agreement on everything; but more the development of consensus and compromise. No one side will win everything, there will not be a completely satisfactory outcome for everyone. That doesn’t happen in the real world.

But urban and rural ambitions and identities need to be respected and allowed for. There are too many people being left behind in our rush towards economic growth. Poverty exists in our community, and we need to identify its scope, its nature and its causes. We all have differing motivations: some just want to make money, others want to see a just society coming out of all of this turmoil. Some will want the emphasis to be on solid economic development as we have been seeing it: urbanisation, commercial and residential growth. Others will demand that we rethink some of those goals and ask whether we are losing our identity, our soul, in the process. Will we share ideas, or just steal them; listen to them, or dismiss them out of hand?

And there are, of course, the cynics and manipulators who will always see hidden agendas in the “others”, always wonder what’s really behind the apparent transparency. Some will have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that is another problem we face. This community is changing, and will change a great deal more in the coming decade, as population increases, issues become ever more complicated, and the possibility of a growing divide between winners and losers in the economic race grows ever more likely.

But it has always been that way. We are not the first generation, and we may not be the last. What we build and destroy today will be the inheritance we leave for our children. Will it have anything of the traditional rural, small-town character we were drawn to here, or will we leave them a concrete wasteland like so many parts of our cities? Time doesn’t stand still. Our very planet is in danger unless we stop and think. Will we have the vision, the courage and the humility to listen to each other, perhaps even change our way of thinking, and remake our community in ways that reflect who were want to be?

We make the future in our own image and likeness by the decisions we make collectively: what will that image show about us?

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