Abbotsford has much to be proud of.
We have a new university, a new hospital, a beautiful civic area, a growing airport, a diversified economy, top-notch sports facilities, and an extensive system of trails and parks.
Even more importantly, this city is filled with passionate people who care about their community.
Indeed, if we were to count our blessings, many of us would say we are doing fine.
On planet Earth, however, no one is immune from the effects of climate change, war and natural disaster.
As recent events in Japan illustrate, we are all connected – lax nuclear plant regulations can affect health in North America.
Two recent local examples illustrate the very real challenges, and the complex issues facing present and future leaders of our own community.
In January, council approved a 62-unit development in the north-east corner of our city. They approved this development, in a highly stressed watershed, rather than wait for the recommendations of a major integrated storm water management plan.
On April 18, council approved the forwarding of an application for P3 development of the Stave Lake watershed. They forwarded this application, rather than waiting to identify the savings from the installation of our new water meters, and other conservation measures.
By taking these actions, the mayor and council have demonstrated in essence that business will continue as usual.
As a conservationist, I view these decisions as missed opportunities to demonstrate wise leadership. Although I have the utmost respect for the present mayor and council, I believe these decisions potentially compromise our quality of life.
My hope on this Earth Day 2011 is that citizens who truly understand the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century do step forward and are chosen to lead this community.
If a new team with a new vision could expand on the exceptional built assets of this community – then the potential for a truly great city would be very, very promising.