I love a good walk at this time of the year, that crazy intense heat hasn’t hit yet and there always seems to be a perfect breeze blowing in the evening. No reason not to get out and put some miles on those sneakers, check out your neighborhood, see who’s done what with their yard and gardens. It never ceases to amaze me what some people can do with a simple plot of soil. The garden’s and fences, pergolas, sheds and decks that fill the yards in Rutland are exceptional. The creativity and ingenuity of my fellow Rutlanders, always impresses.
This community is unique in many ways; we are a breed unto our own.
Much has been said of Rutland in the past and yes in the present. We don’t always get the best rap, especially by the local media but we take it in stride. We ignore the misconceptions, the stereo typing. We know who and what we are, what we’re capable of and we won’t be underestimated. Rutland has come a long way.
There have been a lot of feel good speeches made about Rutland in recent years, we’ve heard terms like “it’s Rutland’s turn”, “good things are coming to Rutland” and so on. Believing this to be true is what’s best for all of us, after all as they say if you believe it, it will happen or is it if you build it they will come? It’s a good thing we are patient as well as resilient.
Canadians are known the world over for being easy going, even complacent, some would say too much so, we Rutlanders are no exception. Which begs the question, have we taken this side of our easy going nature to the extreme, have we lost our ability to stand up and be heard, to demand what we want and need for our community, what we rightfully deserve?
The truth is, Rutland is long overdue for some major compensation for what we put into the city coffers year after year. Currently approximately one third of Kelowna residents reside in Rutland and our property tax base alone is considerable.
Despite this, our time has come and gone - over and over. Why are we still waiting for our due? Why do we get passed over for Kelowna, The Mission, and Glenmore - time and time again? More importantly, why don’t we do anything about it? Is it because we are so complacent that we just don’t care, or is that we don’t know where to start, where to turn? Are we expecting someone else to step up and take the reins on this issue? Perhaps it’s all of the above.
The folks that have lived in Rutland for decades will tell you, this is nothing new, it’s just the way it has always been. If the Mission gets a new park, Rutland gets a bench.
The new Rutland Centennial Park being constructed is no exception. We asked for artificial turf so the field would be usable for longer in the year, we asked for field lighting so teams could practice in the evening, we asked and the answer was swift and predictable - no.
Studies were done, meetings were held, the people came and saw and spoke. . Rutland resoundingly chose Option # 2 of the three presented. The community felt they had made themselves understood, this time the city was listening. Promises were made.
Fast forward and more questions arise, where are the Pickle ball courts, the Parkour Park, the additional parking spaces? Why did the multi-cultural gardens shrink to half the size of the original plan?
When Ben Lee was raising money for Ben Lee Park, one of our long time city councilors did what we are afraid to do - he stood up in council chambers and he made himself heard. He put council in their place and told them it was unacceptable that Ben Lee had to run around with his hand out to build a park for Rutland. He reminded council of numerous examples of the city working with other areas of Kelowna on parks and beautification projects and that this wouldn’t be happening if it was a park in the mission or any other area for that matter. Ben Lee was an amazing person and left us a legacy that we will never forget but the question remains, should he have had to work that hard to build a park for Rutland?
What is it about Rutland that makes us so damn easy to ignore?
The planters that have recently arrived in Rutland are a prime example of this, why does the city feel that if it’s going to Rutland it can be second rate? Why are our medians and sidewalks not landscaped like we see all over Kelowna?
So the question remains - how do we get our due?