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Mayor’s Message – Bruce Milne

Mayor’s Message – Bruce Milne

milne column headAs the District of Sechelt marks our 30th Anniversary, it is a good time to reflect on our community identity.   Only with self-awareness can we change what needs to change and improve our community in substantive and lasting ways.  It is on the foundation of a clear identity – who we are, who we want to be, and what we are as a community – that we move into the future with confidence and purpose.  How others identify us determines how they will interact with us, be that as a place to visit, a place to live, a place to invest, or a place to build a future.
Sechelt needs to consider: “Who are we?”  “Who do others think we are, and is this consistent with the way we view ourselves?”
Identity, personal or community-wide, has a number of core components. Our appearance is one of the first ways that we show others who we are.  Sechelt, with our year-round growing season, scenic coastline and landscapes displays a wealth of positive natural attributes.  Our built environment; structures, roads and amenities have huge impact on how our community looks.  This is one of the reasons why careful consideration of community-based planning documents is essential when changes are being proposed.  There needs to be valid reasons for straying from agreed upon concepts.  Another aspect of appearance is the care taken to maintain it.   Every citizen and property owner can have a positive impact on appearance by helping to keep Sechelt clean and tidy (Spring Clean Up Coupons are being distributed with Property Taxation Notices).
Structures also reveal our identity as our possessions reflect who we are.  The perceived value of what we own influences whether we are viewed as a ‘have’ or a ‘have not’ community.  What a community creates, be that in the built environment or in social or cultural capacity (think festivals, non-profit organizations and community programming) is another type of asset that adds to what others see when they look us.
Beliefs, values, choices and practices are less tangible but equally important components of community identity.  Our shared beliefs and common values strengthen us and show others what is at the heart of our lives.  Supporting those core ingredients through the choices we make and practices we maintain is what creates a purpose-driven, authentic life.  In a world where virtual presence has become common place, being ‘real’ as a community provides an enormous competitive advantage.
A strong community identity acts like a magnet of authenticity that will attract likeminded people to live and invest in a future they can trust. Building on our first 30 years, reinforcing a shared identity of who we are and what we are about, is the single most important thing Sechelt can do over the next decade.

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