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04/29 2009

Victoria International Marina

calder-publicmeeting-apr29Tonight I had the honour of Speaking at my first Public Meeting. I played a small role in a significant evening.

I know that I have a responsibility to remain apolitical in my role as a BC Public Servant, and that has required some thought on my part. There were not that many public servants who returned from the Olympics to a jurisdiction preparing for the next games – but I did – when opportunity knocks…

My problem is that I prefer taking action than sitting on the side-line. If I believe in something or someone, I become invested in that cause 110% – sorry, old sports cliché. That is how I became a three time Olympian, and an Olympic medalist, by working for what I believe in, am passionate about and creating more opportunities for myself.

It is hard for me to sit back during this BC Provincial Election Campaign and watch while candidates that I support ideologically across the province are in the trenches fighting for their seat in the Legislative Assembly. I find the similarities to the “seat-racing” of crew selection ironically similar. Ultimately, there will be winners, and there will be losers, and we will all have to live with those results – so get out and vote.

But there are areas of the political world that are “in-bounds”, as far as I’m concerned, for a public servant such as myself. I had the opportunity to participate in the Torch-Relay Launch-City announcement with MLA Rob Fleming a few months ago. Likewise, my high school asked me to help host Premier Gordon Campbell at the Brentwood Regatta this past weekend. These are great opportunities for me, but completely apolitical, in terms of party support.

Tonight was more than these experiences though. Tonight was about taking action for something I believe in – 110%.

Tonight was about community – our community. There is a proposed marina development for the Victoria Harbour that will significantly impact the current use of the harbour. Individuals, recreational outfitters, tourism and industrial users will all be impacted – for better or for worse. Tonight there was an impressive line-up of speakers, with the intent of providing valuable information about the marina and the magnitude of its impact on our community.

Tonight was about sharing my experience in the harbour as a returning Olympian, struggling to fight back from a debilitating back injury – on a long road towards my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. Tonight was about sharing my experience as a coach and role model for youth-at-risk in one of many community programs utilizing the harbour.

We have not been adequately consulted yet. This proposal, in its current form, does not take into consideration the community’s needs or best interest. All parties need to attempt to reach a compromise so that all social, environmental and economic concerns can be addressed.

With significant public participation – on both sides – perhaps we can find the middle ground. Our community deserves it.


Dave
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