We spoke to some residents on the Avenue again and found many receptive to taking a brochure and sharing with me their concerns.
One resident expressed that whatever candidates say they will do, once they are elected, they seem to get lost in the bureaucracy and find themselves unable to fulfill their goals. This reminds me of a mentor of mine who used to say that when we believe we can change the system by getting involved in it, often the system ends up changing us.
While this is a genuine concern and often leads to feelings of apathy among the public, in my experience, regardless of how complex the system, if you are fortunate enough to find others just as willing to work hard and advance the goals and priorities important to residents, then change is truly possible. Yes, there is always the danger that the system can be overwhelming sometimes but you can never give up. Learning to work together, to find common ground and to achieve consensus are all possible with persistence.
Some other residents asked for a “family restaurant” for Oak Bay Avenue, something similar to what used to be located where the Penny Farthing Beer and Wine Store is now. They argue that many older residents are looking for a restaurant that will complement a pub, wine bar and bistro.
Better and more open communication came up again that some residents argue should be a priority for a new Mayor and Council. A good website, a regular newsletter and other means of communicating were all identified as “long overdue.”
My thanks to the residents who stopped to chat about what is important to them. I will be back to continue the conversations that have been so valuable to me so far during this campaign.