Amidst all the haggling and wrangling surrounding the pedestrian/pipe bridge and all the huffing and puffing over the bump in costs to the sewer line, there’s a very important part of the process that appears to have fallen off the radar.
If you think back to roughly a year ago, during the municipal election campaign and the respective candidate forums held in each community, there was one prevailing theme – co-operation.
The voters were telling potential community leaders that one of the most important things they wanted to see was more collaboration between communities.
Less bickering, finger-pointing and posturing and more unity.
“Work together to solve our problems, not against each other,” was a popular mantra during the question periods.
“How do you plan to do that?” was the follow-up question.
As we near the one-year anniversary of what proved to be a shake-up in local politics – three new mayors, new councillors in every community armed with fresh ideas and outlooks – it’s important to note the bridges that have been built (pardon the pun).
Recreation agreements have been forged between Trail and Warfield and the Beaver Valley.
Groups have been working behind the scenes to come to more bilateral decisions about how our region operates from chambers of commerce to tourism to charity fundraisers.
Now, of course, the pedestrian/pipe bridge is at the forefront of this nice trend of collaboration.
It was exactly what the majority of people demanded last fall.
“Quit the bickering and get things done,” was the message.
So far the message has been heard and the leaders have responded.
There will always be naysayers questioning the tactics of one community over another.
There will always be dissenters who see the glass half empty.
There will always be a few people searching for holes in ideas or conspiracy theories in the shadows.
Sadly it’s a reflection of our entire political spectrum lately, federally and provincially, which trends towards division rather that cohesiveness.
Take one minute to look at the federal election campaign and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s not about growing our country. It’s about reminding voters how the ideas of other parties will wreck it.
It’s not about what the candidate will do. It’s about what their opponents won’t do.
That kind of rhetoric serves nobody except his or her own supporters.
If anything it turns off voter engagement, it’s puts the real issues on the backburner and feeds an endless cycle of cynicism and negativity.
However, the lesson learned over the last year locally is that solutions can be found despite a history of difference.
And solutions aren’t some pie-in-sky wish that will never be realized.
They are there to be discovered through a little digging.
There’s give and take, there’s discussion, there’s an exchange of positions, but the bottom line is we all want our communities to thrive as one entity not individually.
The only way that can happen is by working together.
While there will be some people who are skeptical of the entire pedestrian/pipe bridge deal, the people we elected last fall have endorsed it.
They worked together and came to an agreement.
That’s what we asked them to do if they wanted our vote last fall and that’s what they promised and that’s what they did.
And that’s what we should be applauding.
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times