This is a notion often credited to Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said, “everything changes, and nothing remains still; and you cannot step twice into the same stream”. It’s particularly true of Lennox Head, where the pace of change often seems exponential. Other parts of our Shire are changing more slowly, but everything is relative, and it might still be overwhelming for some.
I’ve witnessed a lot of change since growing up here in the 1980s. After I finished high school, I spent most of my twenties and thirties studying or travelling, but every few years I’d come home to a town that looked distinctly different than when I left. I never lamented it (and I still don’t) and I’ve always been excited by the new people and opportunities that change brings.
I’m conscious that not everyone shares my attitude. Not a day goes past where someone doesn’t share their resentment about the way our community has changed. Too many “blow-ins”, too many big houses, too much traffic. On and on it goes.
Dropping nostalgic references to days gone past has become a flex. If you remember <insert person or place here> then it means you are a real local. Sometimes it a harmless trip down memory lane, but other times its used to send a message to newcomers to pipe down and observe their place in a pointless hierarchy of small-town power.
I think it’s time we talked less about how long we’ve lived here and more time about what we’ve done for our community since we arrived. As a Councillor I go to a lot of community meetings and events and it’s abundantly clear to me that it is a small percentage of the population who shoulder the time consuming and often thankless burden of keeping our community institutions running.
Opposing change is easy. It takes no more effort than a comment on a Facebook post. Engaging with change to get the best outcome for our communities takes more effort. Reading proposals, attending meetings, writing submissions. Our population is growing, and people need to live somewhere. Stopping development doesn’t stop people moving to our towns, it just pushes up house prices and makes things more congested.
So perhaps we can all learn something from Heraclitus’ wise words when contemplating the future of our communities. The only constant in life is change. We can choose to spend our time complaining about it (and being perennially unhappy) or focusing our energy and attention on building a thriving and inclusive communities where everyone feels welcome.
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