Actively examining our new and sometimes harsh realities

Ray Bates, Guysborough (Sedabooktook), formerly of Bible Hill, a school principal and Nova Scotia Community College Truro Campus faculty member (Ret’d) has been contributing his opinions to newspapers since 1998. (



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For healthy communities to exist, both urban and rural, decisions must be made for the benefit of the region’s stakeholders. It is imperative that residents, businesses, and levels of governments strive to work together to enable acceptable and mutual positive outcomes to occur. I am not advocating corporations being wooed to arrive, to gobble up taxpayers’ money via grants and/or concessions while altering our regions forever. My thoughts are at the grassroots level where you and I, our local businesses, and governments, have a direct and personal stake in what transpires. With my sincere respect to rural residents, this opinion has an intentional urban slant because I believe regions have an urban core which is the nucleus for their area’s development. One of my concerns is that we, the people, have abdicated our civic responsibilities and have become overly dependent on our governments to be money sources (grants) via our tax dollars. In addition, too many of us choose to be silent and expect governments alone to do what needs to be done. The converse of that concern deals with what is often perceived as a lack of sincere and timely action on behalf of our governments to seek citizens’ inputs. To that perception, I add the apparent lack of our governments’ adequate feedback to their electorate. It is the people who bear the brunt and costs for most of their governments’ decisions. A good-intentioned governmental decision too often has negative long-term consequences that possibly get kicked down the road to be dealt with by future generations. I have concerns for businesses being hit negatively by the coronavirus and by the outcomes of some pandemic-related decisions. It is my desire to see enterprises adapt as much as possible and to survive so as to continue on with their businesses and employment opportunities as we all enter whatever will be our “new normals”. Shopping options have evolved drastically over my lifetime. I have witnessed the transitions from Main-street stores to malls, to big-box stores, to online shopping, and now adjustments for disease-prevention implementations brought on by COVID-19. Being a retiree and not having to generate revenue for operational expenses nor compete for consumers’ dollars, it is easy for me to suggest that businesses acknowledge that the status quo as they (we) knew is dead and they (we) might need to actively examine adaptions to our new and sometimes harsh realities. “When you have lemons, make lemon-aid” has always been one of my go-to sayings during turmoil. COVID-19’S viral attack is a good time to be seeking learning opportunities presented via this pandemic and from the many decisions made – either good or bad. Choices presented by the powers-that-be must reflect that which will enhance healthy communities. Are there ample sources of water for residential and business needs? Are sewage treatment procedures conducive to public approval thereby not being negative indicators for a region’s environmental-support practices? Are there wellmaintained sidewalks to entice residents to get out of their bubbles so as to gain exercise, fresh air, and opportunities to interact with others? Are businesses adapting so as to provide their services/merchandise to suit customers’ expectations? COVID-19 and its mutated variants have pushed many of us into lifestyles that are not as healthy as preferred. A large number of folks are increasingly becoming more sedentary and living further bubbled lives than they did prior to this pandemic’s arrival. As a result, both physical and mental health levels might not be as strong as required to ward off many of the illnesses that individuals might confront. If we want desired outcomes to occur, we must advocate for all because our realities have changed and appear to be entering a stage of frequent revisions. When we strive for positive outcomes with transparency, innovation, and common sense, residents, businesses, and governments will benefit as we work through our transition into 2022 and beyond. (My best wishes for 2022. Stay well.)