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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

If I could add one more comment to one of my answers at the Forum...

I definitely mull over ideas, issues…. I like to look at challenges from every angle and discuss with others, research and test different approaches. And I do this because I know that within every issue or challenge lies an opportunity. So, as you may imagine, a Q&A open-mic format was an interesting experience for me… not too much time to mull the question over! ;) So, of course, I have reflected back on the Forum and there is one question where I felt I had more to add to my answer.

Heather Allen, a well-known and very active community member who I consider a friend and colleague, asked how, if elected as Director, we would help break down the silos between the school board and the RDOS so we could better use West Bench Elementary as a community facility.

The answer I gave was around working together and building relationships for the community… and that is true. But the RDOS has put in efforts with the school board along with a RDOS proposal for a Shared Use agreement for West Bench Elementary, which was turned down by the school board. In fact, the Forum almost didn’t happen over an insurance issue.

What I wish I added to my answer to Heather’s original question about breaking down the silos of different government bodies to work better together is this:

The only reason there is a local school, there is a local School Board Trustee position and a local Director role is because we as taxpayers pay for it. The role of an elected local representative, in my view, is to look for opportunities to fulfil the needs and wants of a community while still working within the high-level mandate of their governing bodies. That is the beauty of local representation because most often, solutions to local issues are not found within the mandate but within the community, the voters.

If elected, I would actively support the ongoing efforts of the RDOS with the new School Board to come up with a mutually beneficial Shared Use Agreement for WBE. Both the school board and the RDOS have had opportunity to test this idea out. It is time to review and see what worked, what didn’t and figure out how we can move forward, collectively for the communities together.

I researched ‘local schools and community building models of success’ and found over a decade’s worth of studies and benefits. West Bench Elementary is already a leader with their outdoor program. We could be a leader in community development as well.

As always thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments to share, I would love to hear from you.



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