Over at my campaign Facebook page, Sooke voter Christina Moog asked me (and likely other candidates too): What does "community" mean to you? What is the role of local government as it pertains to "community"?
Here's my answer ...
"Hi Christina, local government delivers essential services that make any functional hometown tick ... land-use planning and regulation, roads, police and fire protection, recreation and culture, water treatment and supply, waste collection, and civic services (business licences, signs, animal control). That's job one as defined by the Local Government Act.
Yet in my opinion, staff and council also must go beyond these basics to nurture, encourage, promote and support community projects and initiatives. District staff and elected reps can help facilitate connections, create partnerships, share expertise, and work in tandem with our community organizations. It shouldn't just be a matter of cutting cheques for those who request funding. Sidewalks and roads matter big-time, of course, yet a community is more than the sum of its parts and I think City Hall should be a significant part of our town's "heart and soul" (as the Sooke Voice News quoted me as saying at the first all-candidates meeting). Thanks for the question."
I then followed up with another post featuring a more personal answer ...
"One more time: What does community mean to me? Family, friends and the circles of people I spend time with locally and elsewhere. The extended family I hang out with at the Stick and Ahimsa Yoga. All those familiar if nameless faces we all encounter at every turn in this small, friendly town (which is such a delight for me compared with the anonymity of living in large urban centres). As the EMCS Society's Anne Bell has said at board meetings when we discuss school initiatives like the "Munch Card" (which provides lunch vouchers to needy kids) and the Play and Learn Summer Camp (for slow learners): It takes a village, and no one should be left behind. That's the measure of community for me."
I'll also take this opportunity to add a wise note from an overseas friend who sent me a real, actual, honest-to-god handwritten letter that arrived via the post some months ago: "If I had the magic powers I so richly deserve, I would probably change only two things and they would be the human burdens of loneliness and isolation."
Community is what brings us out of our caves and gives us what we need: connection, conversation, an opportunity to see and be seen, hear and be heard, and to give and receive the rich, full, sometimes challenging, always rewarding and enlivening benefits of each other's company. Let's have more of it!