Passion is essential in our lives. Passion for the things we love, the people in our lives, and, if we’re lucky, the work we do. I have seen a lot of passion in this role. Passion expressed for the community we live in and the various aspects of that community that people really treasure. I am only too happy to have people express their opinions to me with genuine exuberance. What’s interesting is how the things people love, the things they are passionate about, don’t always overlap in that ever-extending Venn Diagram that makes a culture. We can share a space but can share little in what we hold dear about that place. Our concerns can be personal or collective as to what best serves our community.
I am passionate about my role. To say I am passionate about local government or policy misses the mark. Those are important tools I’ve had to learn that in turn help a municipality meet the needs of its citizens and sustain a structure of fairness but, like many residents, I care most deeply about this place and its people. If I am passionate about anything in this job, it’s about maintaining and improving the quality of life for the citizens of Fernie.
I am grateful to everyone who has offered constructive suggestions and recommendations to improve how the City runs or organizes itself. I am grateful particularly to those for whom this is difficult, but who are still willing to step out of their comfort zone to make positive suggestions. Almost to a person everyone has been polite and civil and, even when emotions get elevated, it’s generally because they are very passionate about the issue at hand. Please, never feel the need to apologize for your passion as it’s a clear indication of how deeply you care. Further, I want to formally thank everyone who attended our Council Town Hall on December 14, 2023. There was a lot of passion in that room, and I hope you felt heard. I encourage everyone who can to please attend in the future.
Finally, in what may seem like a weird segue but consistent with the theme, I wanted to share my gratitude for a couple of Fernie Secondary School students who let me squad-up with them for a few rounds of Fortnight toward the end of 2023. A lot has been written about the near-meditative experience of total immersion in games when all you are thinking about is your digital survival.
What a riot it was. I truly appreciated them including me, their patience, and camaraderie. And, contrary to the much-mythologized online interaction model, they were pleasant, funny, and upbeat. I had some real laughs as we ran around the map kibitzing about the state of the game, the funny effect of goofy character skins (one was playing as Peely, a human banana), the folly of other players, and how to share the loot we found.
I wanted to thank them for letting me join and—not to put too fine a point on it—how hopeful they make me for the future. Not only were they well-adjusted and insightful, but they were patient, kind, and inclusive. I also wanted to thank their families and their teachers who helped them get here. If this one short-lived interaction is any indication (we played together for about an hour) our future is in good, capable, passionate hands—even if they are banana hands.