I was out in the backyard today looking at my stack of election signs from 2010. If I do decide to run, I will be making the sustainable choice and using the same ones. While I've lost a little weight in those three years, I think the image we used back then still holds up, as does the campaign slogan: OUR HOME OUR FUTURE.
Our future has been on our minds a lot as we went through the last three years as a governing body. There seemed to be a unanimous recognition that we needed to be bold in our planning and even bolder in our actions.
"The only mistake we can possibly make is to dream too small," said Councillor Allan Vinni during our City Centre discussions. It's such a great quote that I have repeated it many times and in many different venues, because I think it captures so much about the potential of our region and our compelling urgency to imagine the possible, to think big!
There are those who think we are moving too fast, making too many changes. There are others who feel we aren't moving fast enough, that more changes are needed. As duly elected officials, our responsibility is to carefully consider both perspectives and all of those in between, combined with the best available facts and forecasts to make the decision that is in the best interests of the region. Being empowered with the decision-making responsibility is a burden one has to be prepared to carry. There are times when all of your faculties are telling you to vote one way, while the vocal minority are thinking the other way.
I've been able to weather the storms that have blown our way over the last three years, though at times it hasn't been easy. I'm one of those people who likes to be liked. I'll admit it. Having people upset about a decision I made or a perspective I espoused is not a comfortable place for me. That said, I understand my job, my duty, and have grown to be comfortable in the discomfort of having people saying not-so-nice things about me from time to time.
I'm incredibly grateful to my colleagues for this council journey. Mayor Melissa Blake has been such a great leader and mentor. Her depth of knowledge, character and political know-how make her the best mentor I can possibly imagine as a newbie councillor.
Councillor Dave Kirschner has inspired me with his commitment to finish strong, battling MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy) with the bravery, fortitude and optimism of a champion. A fierce advocate, a respected voice, he has served this region so well during his time on council.
Councillor Sonny Flett doesn't say much, but when he does we pay attention. He is passionate about his community, particularly its youth, and isn't afraid to fight for what he believes in. I can't wait to see his beaming smile when we finally open the pool in Fort Chip.
Councillor Phil Meagher has grown into a good friend. His sense of comic timing is legendary, his connection with the grassroots of this community, inspiring. One of the longest serving councillors, my suspicion is that he'll be putting up signs on September 23rd. What they'll look like is anyone's guess.
Councillor Sheldon Germain is a very strong voice on council. Our representative on the MacDonald Island board during this term, he has spent countless hours ensuring this world-class facility and its Shell Place expansion stay on track.
Councillor David Blair is now on Facebook, which makes me incredibly happy. He has worked hard for the communities in his ward, not afraid to mix it up when required, but always in a respectful way.
Councillor Allan Vinni is a master of the "rant", of speaking his mind with an eloquence and originality that is both refreshing and captivating. I love this guy, his fierceness and fearlessness. That he took me fishing, only enhances my appreciation for his love of the finer things.
Councillor Jane Stroud could quite possibly be the hardest working councillors this region has ever seen. She advocates hard for her region, with all levels of government, with industry and anyone else who gets in her way. It has been an inspiration getting to work with her.
Councillor Colleen Tatum is one of the emotional centres of council. As a person who grew up here and who is raising her children here, she is so attuned to the community and its best interests. She is the only councillor who has announced formally that she is running again, having done so the day before bringing another beautiful baby into the world. Congratulations Colleen!
Councillor Christine Burton asks some of the best questions. Yes, she is a trained lawyer, which helps explain the skill, but she also has an intuitive ability to drill down to the heart of the matter better than anyone. That she is super passionate about the arts and the social profit sector, makes me love her even more.
How things will change when the new council is sworn in after the election in October is totally in the hands of the voters. My only hope is that our voter turnout is better than it has been. You can help. Encourage a friend, cajole a neighbour, inspire a co-worker to exercise this incredible gift we've been given of being able to vote.
Meanwhile, I will continue to mull over my future and dust off my signs should I hand in my nomination papers on the 23rd.