OPINION/By: Debra and Dana Branscombe
The pending municipal election on Oct. 22 will provide an opportunity for the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake to select representatives on town council, regional council and school boards.
It is a testament to the community’s spirit that so many candidates are showing concern for NOTL’s future and want to make a difference.
It will be a difficult challenge for voters to decide on which candidates to chose.
Some have developed web sites that provide personal background information and have identified issues in the Town that need to be addressed. Finalizing a strategic plan, controlling development and maintaining the historical characteristics of the community are a few priorities commonly mentioned, which certainly are important.
Since retiring and moving here in 2012, we have taken more of an interest in our community and are enjoying all the benefits Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer.
However, we’ve also come to realize, existential and internal influences are putting greater pressures on council to strike an appropriate balance between maintaining the attractiveness of the area with improvements in services and efficiencies.
Let’s hope the new town council will recognize the importance of bringing the community together and avoid the polarizing politics that we’ve seen intensify in NOTL and in fact the world.
A candidate that can demonstrate the ability to get things done through listening, compromising and building relationships with all stake holders has a greater chance of success and should get our vote.
This is far more important than a particular policy issue.
An article in the Sept. 15 Globe and Mail by Eric Klenenberg quoted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg:
“History is a story of how we’ve learned to come together in ever greater numbers as tribes, nations and cities to achieve things we couldn’t do on our own.”
Although the quote was in the context of the role of social media, it also helps crystallize the importance of a community working together for the betterment of all.
We hope all NOTL residents will be engaged in this election. In 2014 only 48.5 per cent of registered voters cast their ballot. Research has shown there is a direct link between voter turnout and the quality of the Government elected.
The residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake deserve good representation but that responsibility rests with us.
Debra and Dana Branscombe