This blog really came about as an extension of my desire to get engaged at the civic level, become well grounded in the issues and participate in some constructive discourse. I had an awakening about this some years ago but my mind focused on the project when I went to work for a municipal government. I saw how much of a role the structure and vitality of a community was driven by municipal policy and how disengaged a significant portion of citizens were. Municipalities govern the things we interact with every day- shops, community centres, parks, roads. I started to look at what was going on around me in a different way (and became unusually focused on garbage collection and rezoning signs). At the same time, I was reading up and seeing how civic issues manifested themselves on social media.
I was very fortunate when working at the City to have one of the best coworkers around, in the online world he goes by NWimby. He is an accomplished blogger, an award winning community volunteer and now, a municipal councilor. He and I had many discussions about the constructive use of social media and I admire his work greatly. Not to say that we agreed on all topics- I do miss the regular hockey vs. soccer debates! As I undertake my new community focused blog I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Patrick, his insight and his commitment to his City. You can be assured I will continue to follow him from this side of the straight.
It’s been a great time to plug in to the political side of issues here as my arrival has coincided with the municipal election period. I’ve taken the opportunity to meet and speak to councilors, attend meetings and review the candidates’ online presence (notable for its scope and professionalism- this surely is the new difference maker in campaigning). The discussion and dialogue coming out of the elections is invigorating- the big issues of amalgamation, sewage and municipal resources all coming to the fore. Before arriving in Victoria I developed an impression that the amalgamation issue was somewhat of a non-starter, even for initial discussion. The results of the various municipalities’ referenda seem to indicate otherwise, and it seems as if the province has heard that message. I’m very interested to learn more and hear from neighbours on this.
One issue is of particular interest to me as a Biologist, and you can be sure I’ll have some thoughts here:
Hey, there’s an election issue in my back yard.
My big realization through following the campaign issues is how much I’ve got to learn. There are a lot of complex issues to explore and it’s given me a pleasantly swimming head. I find myself fired up to find out something about everything, so the reader may see this manifest itself in all manner of odd topics in the posts to come. Have feedback on topics not to be missed? Make sure you let me know right here.
As always, a good bike ride always serves to focus my thoughts: