Dysart et al. residents’ municipal government is off and running.
And, aside from the oaths of office sworn and the obligatory prayer during the inaugural meeting Nov. 15, it was agreed that the next four years will be fraught with tough decisions to address the many issues facing the township.
“I don’t need to tell you there’s going to be some challenges in the next four years,” said Pastor Bev Hicks of Northland Faith Church.
Mayor Murray Fearrey concurred.
He said council isn’t going to be right all the time, but the township needs to move ahead and there needs to be a plan to maintain a forward momentum.
“I’m confident that we’ve got the people here to move us forward,” Fearrey said. “I know we do. We just have to take our time and make decisions that are good for all of us.”
Hicks told a parable about a donkey, a beast of burden. A grandfather and his grandson were travelling. They traded turns being carried by the donkey. By the time they arrived where they were going, the grandfather and his grandson were carrying the donkey.
As would happen, the man and the lad were mocked by those who saw them lugging the donkey.
The question becomes who is the real donkey: The grandson, the grandfather, the donkey itself, or the people who criticized the grandfather and grandson for carrying the donkey at the end of their trip into town?
I suppose, after looking into one’s self, the answer informed by your interpretation of the parable goes toward defining you in some way.
“I think we’ve all lived long enough to know it’s impossible to please everybody, to make everybody happy,” Hicks said. “You can’t do that. And you can’t walk the middle of the road.
“I find that when I walk the middle of the road, I find yellow lines and road kill. It pretty much makes sense of what we try to do to please everybody.”
The pastor said one of the things he’s known Fearrey to be fond of saying over the years is, If everybody’s happy, you must be doing something wrong.
And that goes toward one of life’s simple truths that may be difficult to accept.
“Criticism is a part of life,” Hicks said. “It’s how we handle the criticism that’s important for our integrity. Remember that not all criticism is bad. Some is good for us. I think we need to be good listeners in this day and age.”
The pastor said there’s a lot of angry people in the world, and there are many who are losing their trust in authority. Confusion abounds among people, he said, and it’s important leaders have integrity, honesty, and earn people’s trust.
Fearrey said the new council already has a full plate of tasks before it.
He cited staff shortages, the many municipal projects started, and a desperate need for recreation facilities. He said the provincewide troubles in the health care system have touched lives locally. And then there’s the worrisome housing deficit.
“I think the housing will get solved,” Fearrey said. “I’m confident of that. But the health issues: I continue to say it’s a growing community and, if you don’t have health care, it’s very hard to attract people here.”
He said town council needs to focus on forming a vision in these early days of its mandate of how it would like Dysart to look in 20 years.
“What kind of community do we really want?” he said. “We need to get our heads around that.”
Will Dysart be much the same as it is today?
Do residents want more urbanization with large box stores making brisk business?
“And we’ve got a lot of people that are hurting,” Fearrey said. “We’ve got a lot on our plate.”
James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo