Times in Trail: Finally a bridge over troubled waters

"...it was refreshing to hear that local representatives actually worked out a deal that all sides can agree on."

With word that the partners involved in the new sewer line construction coming to a mutual agreement, there’s a ray of hope after all for our local governments.

Ironically with just over a month away from municipal elections, it was refreshing to hear that local representatives actually worked out a deal that all sides can agree on.

It’s no secret that the past few years have been plagued by more arguments than agreements to the point that citizens are demanding their elected spokespersons work together to find a solution instead of the knee-jerk reaction of taking opposing views.

Adversarial politics works well in headlines and for newscasts but rarely solves issues that matter to the very citizens whose lives are affected.

It’s also no surprise that the latest Trail Times online poll, albeit unscientific, showed 70 per cent of respondents were unsatisfied with the performance of their elected representatives.

And perhaps that’s the larger issue here.

We’ve been desensitized to the constant bickering on the political front.

We see the disingenuous responses to questions in Parliament by the ruling party. We see emotions boil over into inflammatory rhetoric south of the border.

Our provincial government only recently apologized for its “heavy-handed” firings of health staff in light of a data breach. Only a tearful plea from someone who lost a family member due to the firings was there finally an admission of guilt and apology.

Sadly this is what the state of “big league” politics has become – non-answers in Parliament by those accountable, apologies from politicians only in response to bad press and the usual malaise of mutual disrespect.

Perhaps we were led to believe the same is happening at the local level with dissenting views on everything from bridges, to pools to boundaries.

And while many of those issues continue to simmer, and impact the daily lives of local citizens, solving one could be the tip of the iceberg.

The players involved in solving the sewer issue believe it was the ability to sit down without distraction or other parties that enabled an amicable resolution.

I like to believe it also has something to do with the chorus of voices growing from Rossland to Fruitvale demanding our representatives to work together and not against each other.

That bodes well for the slate of candidates running in the coming election.

It’s an opportunity for the political veterans to see that agreements can be forged.

And it’s an eye-opener for the newcomers in the race to see that things can change from the usual posturing.

There’s no denying our lives are dependent on each other and the same holds true for communities. Success for one usually has a ripple effect despite what some may claim.

Expansion at Red Mountain is not only good for Rossland but also good for Trail in the form of tourism dollars.

Senior-friendly initiatives in Beaver Valley resonate throughout the province and enhance the attractiveness of our region.

Trail’s efforts to revitalize its downtown and beautify the riverfront give people of the area another reason to extol the virtues of our corner of the West Kootenay.

There’s no magic solution to get everybody on the same page. It’s as easy as ending the parochial views that have been so prevalent in regional debate of late.

And that’s where the voter can play a role. And I stress the word “voter” because it’s through your vote that the message is sent.

In reality, our representatives aim to do what is best for their constituents. You can’t blame them for that.

But if we, as constituents, continue to get the message across that co-operation is better than confrontation, then maybe the tide will turn.

On the other hand it doesn’t mean suddenly all concerns will be addressed and resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Much like everyday life, there is some give-and-take.

To quote the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.”

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times.

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