(Rhonda Bruce Mattes is running in the September 21 by-election in Oliver. She submitted the following article.)
Last summer I attended the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, where I had a chance to study communities and sustainability.
I had a chance to travel around Nova Scotia and look at communities and business and, study what it means to be sustainable. The conference has inspired me to run for a council position. I have spent four years as the regional vice president for the Hospital Employees Union, where we represented 43,000 health care workers in this province.
We balance budgets, work on committees, and set policies that govern the union. I feel that I would be a benefit to this council with the experience I have.
My platform is a sustainable community. One thing I learned about myself is that I am a big picture thinker, so I try to look at things outside of the box.
We have always had issues with young people and each generation comes with a different set of problems.
I have raised two great sons that I am very proud of and believe there are a lot of great young people in this community. Focusing on the positive young people in our community will inspire others.
I have heard a lot of talk about wanting a hotel. The question then becomes where would we build it, who will build it, and will this hotel be sustainable? We have some award winning B&Bs here in Oliver that provide accommodation; maybe we should change our focus. It will be about thinking outside of the box.
I have grown up in Oliver and we have always had issues with summer transients, and the pickers that come to pick fruit. This summer I was dropping off a friend and as I drove by an orchard I could see that we still have some orchards that have picker’s cabins and are providing accommodation.
I remember when the transients stayed in the park across from the village office and made a huge mess and every morning the Town would clean it up. As I walked to work this past week I commented to my husband how nice it looks now. I am sure there are answers out there and having a discussion with the farmers may give us some idea on what we as a community can do.
The one thing that has stayed with me from the leadership conference is that being sustainable is not always just about the money. It is about looking at things that are important to people. This community needs to look at the bottom line through the lens of the people. This is one area where the community can improve.
I am looking forward to running for council. This is the town that I have grown up in and where I have raised my family. I have always been very proud of Oliver and I am sure I am not alone.