As a journalist, I regularly encourage people to be engaged citizens, and lament when people do not engage. It is hypocritical to sit on my butt, not engage, and claim being a journalist as the reason for non-engagement. Be the example is one of my mottos.
I'm involved in my neighbourhood association, the Beasley Neighbourhood Association, and am pleased to serve in my current role reviewing minor planning and variance applications in the neighbourhood. Due to the nature of this role, it is position on the BNA executive.
No volunteer role comes without entanglements and difficulties; there have been applications which abuse the minor variance process, and which I should be covering as a journalist but I'm sucked into due to my community role. The result is a strong conflict between my work and neighbourhood roles. Being engaged means being subject to criticism, this I do not shy away from.
My journalism is improved from the experience of being engaged; the difficulties I experience are those that others experience. This enhances my understanding of why people don't engage, and those that do often burnout.
I'm asking to step aside for four primary reasons.
- I need to focus my time and energy on making The Public Record sustainable and grow TPR by becoming able to hire journalists to expand coverage.
- It's time to provide the opportunity for someone else to gain this experience, grow, and be able to join the core executive in the future.
- The time commitment of a few hours every other week is manageable for me normally, but during the upcoming municipal election, I'm not able to commit to it.
- The Beasley Neighbourhood Associations strength is the number of residents who are involved and members; it's important that no one member been seen to hold a position of responsibility as "their position". After two years in this role, I need to step aside to ensure this position on the BNA is not seen as my position.
The role requires schedule flexibility to attend Committee of Adjustment (CoA) hearings about once every six weeks. Preparation for CoA meetings includes meeting with City planning staff, often applicants, and other members of the BNA Executive. These meetings are to become informed on the specifics of the application, staff position, applicant position, and to brief fellow BNA Executives. This ensures the BNA statement to the CoA is sound on planning grounds and reflective of neighbourhood opinion.
I remain a member of the BNA, will continue to be engaged at our monthly meetings and as requested in other limited roles.
I will be available to the minor planning and variance coordinator, and will attend CoA to speak on behalf of the BNA in the hopefully rare circumstance that another BNA member is not available to attend a hearing.
Thank you to my neighbours for your trust in allowing me to serve in this role the past two years.