Imagine my surprise when I found out last week that a total of 13 people had thrown their names into the proverbial hat for the municipal election in Outlook. Well folks, let me tip MY hat to all of you for putting yourself out there in the hopes of representing this incredible town.
In the weeks leading up to the deadline date for nominations, I think the rumblings around town over who might be considering a political run were, well, ‘modest’ to say the least. You know how small town circles are: you get THIS side of things from THIS group of folks, but then you hear THAT tidbit from THAT person over there.
When all was said and done, I was glad to see such a vested interest in wanting to serve Outlook from a mixed bag of people.
So, upon learning who is vying for your vote, I compiled a list of questions to ask all 13 candidates. On Friday afternoon before the Thanksgiving long weekend, my coworker officially sent the questionnaire out. Five minutes later, she received a text from one of the candidates, "Holy crap, these questions are tough!" My only thought was, "Well...good."
I want people to really think and I want their honesty on where they believe Outlook is headed over the next 5, 10, or even 20 years down the road. This town finds itself in a unique position, particularly with the irrigation expansion project related to Lake Diefenbaker that was announced this past July.
Personally, I believe that Outlook is at something of a crossroads; down one path is where many other towns like it have traveled in which people play the low-risk game and keep things as the tried-and-true "status quo". That may be perfectly okay for some towns depending on their situation, but sometimes the problem with the status quo is that you find yourself stuck on 'pause' while every other community is moving forward in growth, prosperity and popularity.
Down the other path is a road of higher risk, but possibly greater reward if one knows how to play the long game. We've seen strides made over the last few years and it would be wrong to ignore what current officials and administration have accomplished, but I feel it's high time that Outlook makes an effort to truly bet on itself and make a serious play to stand out among other 2,000-or-so-people towns in the province. It needs more people, it needs more business, and it needs more of an identity than just, "That town that's 45 minutes from the city."
Seriously, and I don’t mean to go off on a whole other tangent, but can we stop promoting that city already? Is there some unwritten bylaw that states we need to declare that Outlook is less than a "hop, skip and jump" from big box stores that take much-needed dollars out of our own business corridor? Visitors coming through town have Google Maps and in-dash navigation systems, I have complete faith that they can find Saskatoon on their own accord.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the city isn’t promoting Outlook, so I fail to see why Outlook needs to point out how close it is to the city. Highlight and promote what you have in your own backyard, you know what I mean?
My hope is that the people who are elected to serve this town keep such things in mind. Outlook is on the cusp of something that, if handled correctly and all the best decisions are made, could spell tremendous growth and attract new levels of commerce.
I'm quite interested in what the candidates will have to say when we receive their responses to our questionnaire. Look for them in an upcoming issue.
Oh, and when I say upcoming issue, I mean the print edition of The Outlook. Don’t get me wrong, it will eventually be posted on our website and Facebook page, but the tried-and-true newsPAPER will get the first-rights exclusive that week. So make sure to subscribe or renew today, or be there bright and early to scoop up all the copies you can at retailers around town! Heck, if you’re a local business, this may be the time to buy some advertising and get your latest sales and promotions in front of a smorgasbord of potential customers and clients.
Ridiculously shameless plug aside, I feel this will be a hot issue based on the amount of interest and feedback I’ve been hearing.
Alright alright, enough with the self-promotion already.
Bottom line – the next group of people who are voted in to sit in that council chamber need to understand the responsibility that they will have as it pertains to how Outlook’s future may be shaped over the next four years.
With the speed in which the world is moving these days, those four years could mean gaining everything or missing out on all of it.
Outlook can’t afford to be stuck on the ‘pause’ button.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.