We all need to be heard

We all need to be heard

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The community of Gallagher Lake has reached a milestone in establishing a citizens’ committee with a voice.

What took them so long?

It’s nice to see a diverse group of citizens take the initiative to pool their ideas to get things done.

For too long their wishes and concerns were falling on deaf ears. But after much lobbying, the community finally got street lighting to enhance pedestrian safety at night. (They wanted a pedestrian-controlled crosswalk, but instead had to settle for overhead lighting.)

One of the biggest complaints that small, unincorporated communities have is a lack of voice and consultation.

This was the perception during previous water and sewer construction work on Gallagher Lake Frontage Road.

Pedestrian safety was another issue that residents weren’t getting much action on. So one business owner, Scot Hutchinson, dressed a mannequin in RCMP attire and put it on the side of the road to slow speeders down. And it worked!

Citizens need a voice because government tends to make decisions that it believes are in the best interests of the majority. Yes, they are elected to do just that, but they have to be reminded about who pays their salaries.

The best way to be heard is to speak up as an individual, or better yet, form an association with more clout.

Hopefully the citizens’ committee in Gallagher Lake will have more influence on issues impacting the neighbourhood.

Perhaps this model could work in the community of Willowbrook too, where residents may be better served.

For years Okanagan Falls has considered incorporating, but there’s a core group that doesn’t want to be governed and saddled with increased taxes.

Being unincorporated, the one thing you notice in Okanagan Falls is that it takes a while for potholes to be fixed. Residents just memorize where they are and avoid them.

Kudos to Gallagher Lake citizens for finding their voice. With Area D director Terry Schafer in their corner, they’re on the road to good representation.

But they still might have to drag out that RCMP dummy once in a while to get drivers to slow down.

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