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Caring for the present and future

Just like the mercury in the thermometer and the changing of the seasons, the news cycle in the City of Oshawa has seen its fair share of rises and dips over the course of the past year.

Stories both good, bad and ugly have filled the pages of this newspaper over the last 365 days and trying to wrap them all up has been challenge, even more so when it comes time to take a step back and ask, “well, what was it all for?”

There have been decisions both popular and unpopular made by our elected officials, most notably getting themselves into hot water when they made a pair of council appointments (moving Councillor Doug Sanders to the Region of Durham and bringing in Councillor Gail Bates), but council also made some good moves towards making the city a safer place to live, and approving a new ward system that will change, and hopefully improve, the way citizens elect their council in 2018.

Outside the walls of city hall, the city has been changing and growing. Development continues to surge in the city’s north end, and developments along the waterfront and the Harbour Lands promise nothing but good things for Oshawa’s future.

And while it’s great to see the surge and expansion of our city, it must be balanced out by a compassion for those already living here.

Currently, our decision makers are focusing a lot of their energies on reminding residents just how far this city has come, and what it will be in the years ahead. Perhaps the looming October election has many elected officials thinking ahead.

However, putting all the eggs into the basket of what Oshawa “could be” will cause serious issues for those living in the city right now.

In 2018, let’s start focusing on our city’s most vulnerable, those living on the streets, those struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and those who are fighting the ongoing cycle of poverty. It’s time to start putting more energy and dollars into the programs that will help those in need right now.

And that’s a call both for our politicians and our residents, because it’s only when citizens speak up (loud) that any real change can be made.

So, along with that, let your voice be heard in 2018. Get involved in local politics, volunteer with one of the amazing organizations that operate in our city. It will not only make a difference to someone else, but come election time in October, it could actually make a difference for this city as a whole.

Happy new year Oshawa, let’s make it a good one.