This past weekend I attended the 96th annual BC Hockey AGM at Sun Peaks Resort. I wasn’t there representing the City, but as an executive member of their board of directors. The board had been going through the process of a governance review and proposed significant changes to policy and regulations.

I found so many parallels between hockey politics to the municipal realm that it was worth writing about. There was a distinct fear of change, perception of power being taken away and scepticism or mistrust that the governing body had the bureaucratic arrogance to ram through its own agenda. In the end common sense prevailed, and several years of a governance committee and membership engagement proved successful.

Through discussion and debate, the concerns got addressed and amendments or compromises were sought to come to an outcome that the membership was happy with and endorsed.  It was interesting to observe the “players” work through the issues. In the end, it was about creating a better business model and structure to help grow and improve the game of hockey in B.C. for the kids.

To humble us on why we were there, a young player from Summerland, Jack Edwards, was given the President’s Award for unselfishly giving up this chance to skate with the Vancouver Canucks to his teammate that was battling a health problem. It was very moving and a proud moment for all involved.

I have volunteered with minor hockey for more than 20 years, and even though I don’t have a child involved, I still enjoy contributing. I believe we all need to volunteer or give back to an organization that we are passionate about. Penticton is blessed because we have so many active volunteers and people wanting to help enrich the lives of others.  

Sometimes we are selfish so it is difficult to look at the big picture or what is good for the entire organization. City politics is no different. Council continuously gets told that development is good, but just not in my neighbourhood.  Soon Council will begin a process to review and create a strategic vision and business plan for the City to adopt and work towards. Over the next few months, we will start creating that plan and public engagement to ensure collectively the community will embrace and champion the changes required.

Change is often met with significant resistance because there is an element of the unknown. I remember people telling us the Lakeshore Drive walkway was okay the way it was with the narrow meandering trail, and roots sticking out. We created a beautiful walkway (that has tremendous utilization) and we just recently opened up the Peach Plaza to enhance the waterfront experience. Change comes with a price – not only financially, but philosophically and culturally.

Everyone has a different opinion on what change, degree of change, cost of change and priorities of changes that the City should embark on. This Council was voted in to bring about change, and as we travel collaboratively down that road, it will be crucial that we have respectful dialogue regarding people’s different perspectives or desires.  

We have the mindset that Penticton is our little secret, and not to change anything. We need a cultural shift in our thinking to grow and become the vibrant, innovative, adventurous, waterfront community we want to be. By changing nothing, nothing changes.