As I write this message I am in the lovely Fraser Valley outside Vancouver. I am travelling with a group of Ontario Farm Marketers looking to learn new ideas for rural economic development for our local businesses and communities. Travelling on the bus each day between stops I am faced with relentless complaining about the rules, the by-laws, the red tape and the endless delays caused by local governments. On our stops I hear the same thing from BC businesses as they try to grow and prosper. They are faced with Agriculture Reserve Land (ARL) policies as well as agricultural land prices of $100,000 per acre. While it seemed so obvious to me that we have far less rules and lower costs it was of no consolation. This reminded me of the simple rhyme I learned in school one day as I sat sad and lonely without a friend,. A voice came to me from out of the blue saying,
"Cheer up, things could be worse,"
So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse!
I do not give into this philosophy. I believe that together East Zorra-Tavistock businesses and government can work to make business opportunities better. May I suggest three things:
1. Talk! Our staff and Councillors want to hear your concerns.
2. Ask! Please do not make assumptions, just because you heard it at the coffee shop does not make it true. A timely question can save a mountain of frustration.
3. Encourage! Give your ideas, thoughts and suggestions a chance to make tomorrow better for all of us.
While most of you are turning your thoughts to family, friends, and the fun of Christmas, your Council is turning its thoughts to next year's budget. There are many pressures on the budget to do more with less. Economic Development can bring in much needed new taxes so please help us help you by Talking, Asking and Encouraging. Merry Christmas—Mayor Don McKay