Don't despair. Repair. This was said to me recently by someone I admire.
I know how brutal it was to read the last letter. It is distressing to learn that in this province where there is so much beauty and so much good, that there is also something so ugly that lurks beneath the surface. If reading Jane's letter made you angry then I am glad because anger is a great motivating force. But anger that stands by itself is destructive. We need to hear Jane's story and all the stories of other businesses that have had similar struggles and get seriously mad. Then we need to figure out how to fix this.
There are solutions, but I don't think we should be waiting for our politicians to solve this mess. As Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." (Thanks to another dear friend for that one.) This province is filled with business owners that are making progress happen. These are the innovators. It is time for us as business owners and citizens to get our butts into council meetings. Just to witness the decisions that are being made on our behalf. I think we can all spare 2 hours a month. It can be impressively boring when council is spending 20 minutes trying to decide whether or not to allow a water cooler at a festival, so bring your knitting or your iphone or a good book and tune in or out as you see fit. What right have we to complain if we are not engaged?
Our bylaws need to be revisited. Are they serving our present day community? If the councilors in Annapolis Royal can't see that it makes no sense, in this time when we are desperate for new people and entrepreneurs, to tell someone that they can not sell art, but they can sell antiques, then it is up to the good people of Annapolis Royal to tell their councilors that they want a new bylaw and this is what they want it to say.
If the councilors in Lunenburg can not come to it on their own, that it makes no sense to require three car parking for a small hat studio or pottery studio or one chair hairdressing salon, when our lot sizes can't even fit that amount of parking without removing the home, then it is up to the good people of Lunenburg to tell their councilors what they wish to see. This has now been done in Lunenburg and this change is in progress.
Of course there is due process, but it is up to the people to tell their councilors what they wish to see and it is the duty of the council to listen to the people.
So, if you are in Lunenburg, I'll see you on August 11th at town Hall and if you are in Annapolis Royal, you might want to find out when your next council meeting happens, so that you don't keep scaring away the very people you need.