Is Orange building a house of sticks?
What sort of O-Town person are you?
Are you one of those people who likes things the way they are here and now in Orange, someone who doesn't want to see more people move here, someone who likes the quieter lifestyle that a country town like Orange has been known for, someone who doesn't want to see Orange get too big, too successful or too busy?
Or are you one of those people who doesn't mind seeing Orange grow a bit, but more the let's-only-do-what-we-have-to type?
Or are you one of those people who wants to see Orange grow and prosper on all fronts, and the faster the better?
Well, in my judgement, we only have one choice - to grow and prosper and the faster the better. What I personally may want has nothing to do with it, what we need to do as a community is the only thing that matters, and Orange needs to grow if we want to survive in this changing and challenging world.
Let's stop and think about why that is for a moment.
Again, and still in my judgement, change is constant, and progress is relentless. That leaves us with no choice but to embrace the future and grow the best way we can.
Let me explain it this way…….
Remember the story of the three little pigs?
Imagine we're the pigs, progress is the wolf, and the three houses are the different ways we handle progress. Straw being do little or nothing, sticks being do something, bricks being do what we need to do to shield us from any of the dangers that progress presents and thrive at the same time.
The first pig (like the don't-want-to-change person) built his house of straw and the wolf just blew it away. This pig lost everything.
The second pig (like the let's-only-do-what-we-have-to person) built his house of sticks and although it took longer and more effort, the wolf eventually blew it away as well. This pig too, lost everything.
The third pig (like the let's-grow-proactively person) built his house of bricks and the wolf simply couldn't blow it away. This pig survived and in the story I read, the third pig actually took in the first two pigs and offered them a home as well.
The moral of the story is progress is something we can’t ignore, can’t avoid and are better off embracing. Hope is not a plan and we need to plan for progress. The price of not doing so will be high!
Is Orange building a house of sticks?
I think it's fair to say that Orange is not building our house with straw, that is to say we can hardly be accused of doing nothing.
I think it's also fair to say that we're not building our house with bricks, that is to say we're not doing everything we could do to proactively embrace progress, to keep the wolf at bay.
I think we're building our house with sticks, that is to say we're doing something but not enough to put us well out of progress's (or harm's) way.
Is it time to start replacing sticks with bricks?
A group called Put Orange First was formed earlier this year with the express aim of looking at ways that we could make Orange a better place to live for everyone. Orange is a great place, and lots of wonderful things are happening here, but there are also a lot of areas where this group believes things could be done better, particularly in the area of supporting and promoting our shopping and business sectors. The group also believes there are opportunities to build a stronger relationship between locals and local businesses so that Orange as a whole can benefit.
You’ll likely hear from Put Orange first about the concept of being a ‘localist’ in the coming months.
The group has been meeting weekly all year while at the same time working to build relationships with our Council, the Business Chamber, Orange 360 and others in an effort to see us all pulling in the same direction for the benefit of Orange.
Much has been achieved since the group started and it's fast approaching a time when much of that groundwork will bear fruit.
An Ideas Forum for business owners was held back in June and over 50 local business people attended. Put Orange First is holding a follow up forum on Wednesday September 11th from 5.30pm at the Parkview Hotel and it is hoped even more business owners will attend, particularly retailers as Put Orange First is working on a Christmas in November concept to bring to the CBD.
If you're a business owner, and especially if you're a retailer, Put Orange First would love to see you come along. There's no cost and your attendance will show Put Orange First that you too want to see us building our great city with bricks, not straw or sticks and for everyone's benefit, not just certain sectors.
When a City like Orange builds with bricks, not straw or sticks, the improved outcomes will be there for all to see.
Orange will become a place where new business, new ideas and new people are welcome.
Orange will gain a reputation for being a helpful and welcoming city to do business in.
Orange will gain a reputation for having integrity, wisdom and balance as guiding principles in the way we do business.
Much needed things will start to be addressed in a more-timely manner.
Pride in and publicity for our City will both start to grow.
The good word about Orange will continue to spread and gain momentum.
Orange will become a preferred destination for more visitors, more often for more reasons.
Orange locals will clearly see why it’s so important to support local businesses.
With more people coming to Orange more often, fewer businesses will close.
With more locals buying from local businesses, fewer people will lose their jobs.
Business confidence will be restored and business owners will invest more into their businesses and into other City building initiatives.
The local economy will be stronger as more money flows.
Local infrastructure projects will happen more often, and with less dependence on grant funding.
And so it goes on…….