How an Organized Community Can Create the Change We Need

Spotlight: Safe Roads

Today I’d like to provide an example of how a critical issue for our community could be dealt with more effectively if we had an organized community-based organization, like a Community Association, representing us and working towards the best interests of the community as a whole. This is the cornerstone of my campaign and I think it’s key to Quadra’s success in dealing with the issues we face, now and in the future.

Let’s examine a question that is getting asked a lot lately: How do we make Quadra roads safer? Here is an example of how a Community Association might deal with this issue:

IDENTIFY ISSUE AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: A Community Association holds a community visioning session and one of the priorities that is identified is “Roads are safe for bikes and pedestrians”. The suggestions for how to achieve this include: widening shoulders, creating bike lanes and pedestrian pathways, lowering the speed limit in certain areas, more signage, an awareness campaign, and a community bus (to reduce traffic).

CREATE A STANDING COMMITTEE: Standing committees are for issues that are going to require ongoing work. Community members volunteer or are recruited based on interest and expertise.

CREATE LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR APPROVAL, AND A PLAN: The committee reviews the community input and decides a) what action to take, and b) who should work on it. They report back to the elected volunteer board of the Association and are given approval to implement their plan.

ENGAGE WITH THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR: The Community Association might ask the RD to do such things as look for grants, research policy/bylaws that might support their recommendations, and ask colleagues in other jurisdictions for advice. The RD could make use of their resources to get this work done, or do it themselves.

ONGOING WORK: The Community Association, the Standing Committee, and the Regional Director continue to work together over time to reach this goal. For example, they complete all the work needed to be eligible for a large infrastructure grant, so that when one is available, they are “shovel-ready” and can apply and be successful.

So how is this different from what we have now, or what the other candidate is proposing? A Community Association is proactive, forward-looking, and organized, all the time. They create a shared vision for the future of the island and a plan to achieve it. They create standing committees for all of the important issues facing their community, and these committees are always working with the Regional Director (and others as needed) to make progress over time. The elected volunteer board requires regular progress updates from all of their committees and these reports are shared with the community. The board of the Association meets on a monthly basis and the community is invited to come to every meeting and participate.

Many other islands have Community Associations that work very effectively. It’s time for Quadra to have one too.

 Originally published in the Bird’s Eye on September 21, 2022.