“You can get there from here by building bridges.” So I learned from Debora Gray, Queen’s Council, first member of the Reformed Party to be elected to Canada’s Parliament, public speaker. The bridge: a way to connect with someone on the other side of the divide – a metaphor for anything that separates and keeps people apart.
Things that do separate (not that they must): ethnicity, income gaps, language barriers, education opportunities seized, age, interests cultivated, and others. But the deepest abyss, the broadest chasm separating people is ignorance which engenders fear and suspicion. Ignorance is nothing more than a lack of knowledge and, really, there is no defensible reason for remaining in ignorance, for not obtaining the knowledge.
In a small town like ours it would seem that knowledge of one another should not be utterly illusive. It should be possible to learn what is possible. It should be possible to know the values and aspirations of the people who keep this town running. (I don’t refer to Mayor and Council or to District officials.) It is the business people, the homemakers (men and women), the property owners, the workers, the young people, and the older folks who actually keep our town functioning.
About a year and one-half ago you elected me to this office and I never forget who got me here (thanks again, folks; I’m having fun). I’ve been here long enough to have acquired some knowledge of how things work and why some things don’t work, and never will work. I’ve enjoyed the job and I hope I am making a contribution to a strong and prosperous future for Chetwynd (recognizing, of course, that many things are beyond our collective control).
But we started out to build bridges. You need a way to connect with me. Of course, there are many ways: telephone, email, open door. You are welcome to use any or all. My willingness is the only bridge you need to share your thoughts. In almost all cases, I will invite our CAO to share the conversation; in all cases, I will share the message with him.
If you have complaints, we need to hear them directly from you. We are absolutely willing to hear and that’s a good, strong bridge from you to me and through me to the District Administration. Action on your concern is less likely to happen if you don’t make us aware of it. However, a dash of realism is always a good thing. We can assure you that you will be heard; you get your say but you don’t always get your way. Some things are just too costly at this time; some things are not legal; some things could impinge on the freedom of your neighbors. Mayor and Council with District Administration have to make those calls. That’s life.
There is a wide and solid bridge from your District Office to your house; cross it as often as you like.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor