Youthin government day

Published on Thu, Nov 22, 2007
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Youth in government day

An invaluable experience for youth

By Mitch Moquin
Blaine H.S. student

It’s estimated that 98 percent of the country suffers from what is known as political apathy. 

In other words only about one in 50 of the people that read this will supposedly be up to par on political, economic, and social issues that affect the country. Last week’s Youth In Government day organized by the Blaine high school AP class attempted to change that.

The day was designed to educate students about local issues and students were given first-hand experience as they toured Blaine city government offices with mentors from the Blaine City Council and other officials. 

I worked alongside Blaine police chief Mike Haslip, also the head of public safety. Students visited the site of the proposed water reclamation facility slated for Marine Drive, Blaine’s fire and police stations, as well as city hall. Our main focus of the day. however was to bring a fresh view to the council and share our input with the various city boards.

My fellow classmates seem to echo the sentiment that Blaine has almost no draw that would really bring any consumer basis to the city. 

Since I moved here 10 years ago, I can remember the stores in town quickly dissipating like a fad. As the Canadian dollar worsened over time it seemed as if the availability of the things to do around here did as well. I don’t recall a time really when I was ever excited to live in Blaine. But after attending the council meeting I am really excited to see where this town is going. There’s just a few problems that I feel my class addressed and the board seemed to respond well to what we expressed as concerns to our town’s commerce.

Many feel that there is really nothing to do in town and that is most definitely due to the fact that the city was designed around a logging and fishing industry over one hundred years ago.

Another issue that we felt should really be looked into is the fact that Blaine prides itself on being a beach town yet there is almost no water access in town (Birch Bay doesn’t count). And lastly, as indicated by Nate Tewalt, felt there is no true tax incentive that will drive business into the city of Blaine and allow small companies to thrive as the Canadian dollar rises above ours in value.

After all of that was addressed it was blatantly obvious that for a community the size of Blaine we have a pretty extravagant budget that is stretched almost to the breaking point, yet we need lots more funding than seems readily available.

After listening to what the rest of my class had to say about how they thought we could improve these issues it seems almost easy for the City of Blaine to recuperate from a slight recession in its economy. It will just take a few years of diligent work and system of well balanced priorities.
Police chief Haslip and I discussed how the funding the city receives will always be a juggling act, Blaine’s future just depends on how coordinated, rhythmical and patient we can be as a community.

As projects like the new $32 million wastewater treatment plan begin to get underway it is obvious that Blaine is growing tremendously. With multiple housing sites with thousands of homes coming into town it shows that there really is growth, and that’s just what the town needs.

With more people will come a more diverse idea bank for allowing business and tourism to thrive in Blaine. And as I come to terms with the fact that after I leave to wherever to get my degree in photography after I graduate I will be forced to return to a familiar place to raise my kids just as my parents did 10 years ago. I also know that I will more than likely be astonished by the growth that I will be missing, but I know that something will be happening.

What will be required for this to happen is for everyone to really think about what they want in Blaine, and really escape the haze of this “political apathy” and get involved in the city.

If no one acts then nothing will ever get done. I want to see our town grow the way that our neighboring White Rock has.

I want to see everyone get really involved in such things and really have a personal undertaking in the fate of our beautiful little town that just under six-thousand of us call home.