I read with interest Paul MacNeill’s editorial in the Graphic on August 29th and agree with his assertion that the time has come to rebuild trust throughout the Three Rivers region.
Amalgamation in Three Rivers has been described by some as “the threat of Amalgamation” and by others as “the promise of Amalgamation”. The conflict and divisive discourse is no secret. Conflict that, left unaddressed, could easily colour the nature of the regional relationships moving forward.
My training in conflict analysis and resolution has taught me that in any conflict situation we have choices to make in how we move forward - either to transform that conflict into a community derived solution that works for most citizens, or to maintain that conflict with little resolution and ongoing hostilities.
Whether conflict is within or between families, communities, or nations, there are things that connect us as members of that society and things that divide us. Simplified, conflict transformation involves acknowledging and investing in the the things that connect us and decreasing the things that divide us.
Rural Islanders have many shared concerns and hopes. These connect us in our desire to have a vital, thriving rural life. Islanders are good neighbours. We care for each other. We celebrate together. These things connect us.
I am urging leaders, both elected and not, in all communities within the proposed Greater Three Rivers region, to take the lead in how the region moves forward by coming together in an open and facilitated conversation. They have a task - to build new ways of working and living together in our shared space. Perhaps by initiating and taking on collaborative tasks based on community input - for example, planning a regional centre that reflects the needs of all of the communities in Three Rivers - we will come to appreciate, and celebrate, not only the uniqueness of each community but just as importantly, the things, values, and hopes that connect us.