Everybody knows that when it comes to responsibility for keeping our own homes in order – or dealing with inevitable untidiness – there are multiple excuses, a myriad of mitigating factors and plenty of blame to go around.
Whether you’re a spouse or a roommate, a parent or a child – even if you live alone – chances are you’re stressed by balancing the demands of increasingly complex schedules and a justifiable need for relaxation.
You’ve probably heard, or uttered, all the familiar phrases at one time or another: “There wasn’t enough time…” “I can’t be expected to pick up after everyone…” “We agreed that was your job…,” along with the ever-popular “I’ll get around to it tomorrow.”
And we’ve all recognized, at some point, that the time for finger-pointing or rationalizing is through and the only thing to be done is tackle the problem head-on.
It’s the same thing with keeping our own community tidy, presentable and appealing.
While Coun. Lynne Sinclair bemoaned in White Rock council last week – with some justification, no doubt – that the city’s parks, road ends and boulevards weren’t looking their finest in time for this year’s celebrations of its 60th anniversary, and the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the answer is more complicated than taking parks staff and municipal contractors to task for the late arrival of hanging boxes.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin was right to suggest that city staff look at what measure of responsibility residents could take for upkeep of our gardens, planters and public spaces.
While we have every right to expect work to be done in return for our tax dollars, we cannot expect everything to be done for us. Even if the will of the public is for staff to take a more proactive approach, it is residents’ responsibility to make that will known.
And if efforts are falling short of our expectations, we should be prepared to launch community initiatives – as many in White Rock have done before us – to address such shortfalls. In every community that has established a strong and sustainable identity for itself, the magic ingredient, ultimately, has been civic pride.
And that is not something that can simply be budgeted for or mandated to others to handle, as important as the assistance and forethought of our public servants may be to the process.
It’s something we must seed, nurture and grow for ourselves.