Last week’s Conversation Café drew a diverse crowd of around 50 people to discuss some important challenges facing Summerland.
The tone was positive and those attending, including farmers, developers, business people, retirees and others, all offered some good suggestions.
Ideas from an event such as this one are useful and they can help to set the tone for the future of our community.
More importantly, those present are choosing to have a say in Summerland’s present and future.
While the participants at the Conversation Café represented a good cross-section of the community, many of them are also the same people who participate in other community events.
They are the ones who will run for public office, write a letter to the editor, organize a rally or forum, volunteer with a service club or community organization and attend information sessions.
In short, they are the ones who have chosen to take ownership of their community.
A much larger segment of Summerland’s population will not take part or speak out, even when they are invited to do so.
Voter participation at the municipal level is less than 50 per cent and at the federal level, it was just over 60 per cent in the most recent election.
Open houses and public forums on the most controversial developments may draw 300 people out of a population of around 11,000. Most see much lighter attendance.
Those who have been speaking out should continue to speak. But their voices must be joined by other voices.
Summerland is our town and we should have a say in its present and future.
Your voice is important and your views matter.