I've been living on the Sunshine Coast for a little over a year since taking over as editor in January, 2003.
It's taken me a while to get to know some people and get up to snuff on the issues affecting us here on the Coast.
But as I find out more about these issues, I can't seem to figure out why there is so much opposition and difference of opinion when it comes to getting things done.
For example, this week we've learned about significant problems with the proposed botanical garden for Gibsons.
The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society (SCBGS) first wrote to council in June of last year to inform council of plans to establish the garden. This initial meeting was followed by several others between the society, council and its committees. Council has expressed support in principle for the project, but it's a long way from being a done deal.
Several residents have voiced concerns over the project. Most seem to like the idea of a garden but figure the land being slated for the project (25 to 30 acres of property bordering Charman Creek, between Stewart Road and Shaw Road) is not suitable. These proponents are also upset by the lack of information and consultation by the SCBGS and the Town of Gibsons.
In fairness to those opposed, they are entitled to their opinions, but the point is, don't we owe it to this volunteer group which has spent hundreds of hours working on a project an opportunity to go through the whole process before we tear it apart?
It's not like the botanical garden is going to be built tomorrow.
The SCBGS has put forth a grant application. If that gets approved, they then have to go through a lengthy review and public hearing process which could take up to six months to complete. During that time the public will have more than ample opportunity to voice their displeasure. If councillors see this project won't fly, I'm sure they will take that into account when they make their decision.
I'm hoping there is a way that both sides can get what they want and the garden project can work here. It would be a shame to see it die before it really got off the ground.
Other projects facing problems include the Gateway Information Centre project and, of course, the Coast-wide recreation debate - great projects that could be killed because of differences of opinion, in-fighting and egos.
I've been told by several people this type of behaviour is nothing new. It's always been like that and there will always be the nimby people who will be threatened by growth. That doesn't make it right, though.
In order to be an economically viable and sustainable community, we all have to start working better together. The Sunshine Coast is a great community, but it can be much more prosperous for all of us if we can just find a way to get along.