David Hinks: A few thoughts on community building

Wow. Less than one week to go in the 2018 election period – your vote counts so put your voting power to work!  I know we’re all passionate about our shared community – that’s a good thing – now we need to find ways to work together and move forward. I can help us do this for Mississippi Mills as your Deputy Mayor.

When I lived in Ottawa, I had neighbours that kept their curtains closed all the time, their car had tinted glass, they opened and closed their garage remotely and their lawn and garden was maintained by contractors. Witness relocation, rock stars, drug dealers? I have no idea – I never saw them! My point being that it is possible to live in complete anonymity in the big city.

Is this what we want in Mississippi Mills? I believe that the answer is a resounding no – most folks are here because they want to be part of the ‘friendly community’.

Does our municipal government have a role in building community? I believe the role is critical – the municipality provides parkland, recreational facilities and programs. In many cases the municipality does not have to do the heavy lifting – I love the example of micro-grants that have been the catalyst for folks to create a neighbour-hood based event. A tiny amount of money with huge results!

The role of planning our community is also critical. Communities need to be planned around people – not automobiles. One of the biggest complaints I’m hearing is around traffic and unsafe streets. We can do a better job!

Communities do not have to be neighbourhood based. I’m very happy to have been part of an initiative to build a cooperative relationship between a community of retired guys – the Men’s Shed group – and the Mill of Kintail which will benefit all of us.

I’m also proud to have been part of the revitalisation of Augusta Park in Almonte – building gardens and creating welcoming spaces where people gather to celebrate and get to know their neighbours.

A friendly community is not an abstract concept – it starts with us, with our relationships with our neighbours, with welcoming community spaces to gather, with community festivals and celebrations. I believe that polarization into competing political factions does not bring communities together – meeting your neighbour at a community event and sharing a pot-luck dinner does!

I’ve been volunteering full-time for the last seven years to build community in many different parts of the County and with many different groups. I believe that we can do more as a community and that our municipal government is a big part of the picture – that’s why I’m running for Deputy Mayor. Vote!

And before you vote, check out my website at davidhinks.ca, find me on Facebook at davidhinks2018 or email the team at office@davidhinks.ca.