In a community which has grown increasingly fragmented in the last decade, an initiative to bring people together is a welcome plan.
The Community Cultural Development Committee and the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism will hold a Conversation Cafe, an informal community gathering, later this month.
The plan is to encourage a diverse group of people to talk with each other and find the values and goals they share.
There is no specific agenda for the meeting, nor is there a goal for the gathering, other than bringing people together for discussion.
If the result is a civil, diverse dialogue, then the cafe will have accomplished much.
A decade ago and earlier, community discussions brought together a variety of views and opinions. While the discussions did not necessarily lead to complete agreement, there was respect for the presenters.
In more recent years, the community appears to have become more polarized.
Summerland needs discussion of this sort.
Our community is facing problems as we attempt to recover from a recession.
Jobs have been lost as businesses have closed or relocated.
Some proposed developments which seemed promising a few years ago have not materialized.
To cope with these problems and challenges, we will need to consider a variety of ideas and suggestions.
Despite our differences in opinion, we are all part of this community.
We all want what is best for Summerland, even if we cannot always agree on how this should happen.
Once we realize we all want many of the same things, we can also share some fresh ideas and work together to make those ideas become realities.