Hoping for a better year

ANOTHER year gone, the next one to look forward to.

As I have said in this column before, we often feel we are stuck in our own Groundhog Day at Talk of the Town, as we encounter the same problems year after year. Sewage spills, water quality concerns, illegal dumping, misspent funds and political bickering in council are just a few of the issues that come up again and again.

It is hard to keep a positive outlook when both at a national level and locally, bad things keep happening.

It is not like we go out of our way to find the negative – it is all around us.

Often when someone walks in with a complaint about something going on in their street or neighbourhood we groan inwardly and think, here we go again.

But we do not stop caring. We continue to listen to the concerns of residents and take up these issues with the powers-that-be. We press for answers and hold our local government accountable.

That is not to say we always get the desired outcome. Sometimes TotT’s probing sees results and people are happy. But often nothing is resolved and the problem keeps repeating.

At times like this, we have to be content that our duty is accomplished in the asking, and that we have informed the community.

If we stopped caring we’d just pack it in and bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is wonderful.

Good things are also happening, and we report on those too. We reflect the whole scope of what is happening in our community.

Often the good is everyday and expected, while the bad is magnified in people’s perceptions because it is unsettling and contravenes the norms of a civilised, functional society.

If the municipality or the police are doing their jobs, for example, is it a “good thing” or is it just to be expected? Why should we wonder and marvel when speed bumps are painted or parks are kept neat, or when criminals are arrested and justice is served?

We want to live in a society where order and justice are normal and any deviances are uncommon aberrations.

So we enter the new year hoping the police will have acted with greater authority and the will to keep order on New Year’s Day, and not encourage lawlessness by apathy.

And we hope our municipality will be driven by a will to serve with all the resources at its disposal, and not by the self-interest of party politics.

We hope 2017 is a better year for everyone.

– Jon Houzet


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