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Got beef with a recent decision by town council? Perhaps you have a delicious idea marinating in your head? Is there an issue around the area you’ve noticed that’s a recipe for disaster?

Well, you’re in luck. Mayor Natasha Kulikowski has served up a new way to use your voice. It’s called Lunch with the Mayor.

And I highly recommend anyone who feels strongly about issues around town have a sample.

It’s no secret that upcoming projects like the new Gateway Sign haven’t matched everyone’s palate. Tensions boiled over during a course of stories in June and many people carved the design apart — which for the town’s planners must have cut like a knife. Still others, some liking the new presentation and others indifferent, could not digest what the fuss was about. To them, it all amounted to crying over spilled milk.

Taken from the frying pan and thrown into the fire, the battered town made a convincing case of how it engaged with the public throughout the five-year process. We spoke to Tony Devlin, who noted the town did a good job on presentation, but fell short on its prep-work and dashed local artists hopes as it effectively chopped them out of the tender.

Devlin’s suggestion of preparing the engineering and design aspects of a project separately instead of blending them all together is exactly the sort of salty idea that could and should be brought up during a Lunch with the Mayor.

Though it would be wise to keep these lunches as pleasant tea and biscuits and not turn it into a roast. Far too often we hear people complain about the choice of filling long after the cake has risen. Rather than making our leaders feel like their goose is cooked, we should find ways to work together. You’ll catch far more flies with honey than vinegar.

Kulokowski recently said to me in passing that Covid-19 has completely fried the usual summer schedule of festivals, feasts and fun that allowed her to regularly speak to people and get their feedback on the flavour of the month, which was how the idea for Lunch with the Mayor was steamed up. So it’s clear she wants to get feedback on what town council has brewing.

Politics has a greasy reputation because people tend to let issues get overdone instead of getting involved at the time where their input is really needed. This leaves a bad taste in their mouth and they are left feeling the whole process is rotten.

Don’t get burned. Civic engagement is a healthy option for those with good table manners. All it takes is a willingness to learn and admit you might not always have all the ingredients yourself. To make an omelette, you may have to break a few eggs.

But I think it speaks volumes that the Mayor is willing to take the time to sit in the arena at the Midnight Sun Complex with her lunch with the hopes that someone might come by and chew the fat.

Let’s not make her dine alone. Get involved in your democratic government.

Or stay out of the kitchen.

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Eric Bowling

A lover of knowledge and adventure, Eric Bowling jumped at the opportunity to write for the Inuvik Drum and to see the world from a totally different vantage point. He has covered just about everything...

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