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Prosperity Initiative: Having your Pi and eating it, too

A bright and prosperous future for Brantford is a worthy and viable goal.

I have recently been advancing the concept of a Prosperity Initiative for the City of Brantford, based on the belief that if we wish to have a prosperous future we need to establish prosperous relationships, systems and goals.

Prosperity defined as a successful, flourishing or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune. Prosperity by degree, and the degree defined by each individual citizen of our community.

Council and many more community leaders and champions can lead the community to a prosperous future. We should seek to encourage the invovlement in, and review of, all aspects of our community: economic prosperity, environmental prosperity, cultural prosperity, social prosperity, health and well-being prosperity, and prosperity through education.

Our community carries the baggage of problems like every other community in North America, with a few that are either particular to, or more prevalent in, our community. Should we allow these problems to be the blindfold that blocks our vision, or do we acknowledege the problems, name the problems, draw together as a community to address our problems, and not rest until our problems are no longer a hinderance to the prosperity we seek?

Because we went through an aggressive period of deindustrialization in the 1980's and early 1990's we saw the effects of rapid and community-wide economic and social disintegration. It is understandable, but it is not acceptable.

Since that time we have convinced ourselves that we are in poverty, the ebb and flow of economics has defined us as a community. Yes, there are people in poverty, there are people who are in poverty who have never been in poverty, and we have seniors who are quietly, desperately living in poverty. I would not for one second think to diminish or devalue their plight, but if we resign ourselves to the belief that poverty is the way it is in Brantford, then we are failing those most in need in our community.

If our vision is that of systemic and acceptable levels of poverty, then we perpetuate poverty; however, if our vision is that of prosperity, then we will seek to advance each of our citizens to a level of prosperity in which they can enjoy and rejoice.

This is not a pollyannaish view of the world, it is a progressive, proactive and productive view of how everyone benefits together. There are those who will instantly fall into the "that can only mean my taxes are going up" mind-set, but they couldn't be farther from the truth. Taxes go up because we don't seek prosperity; taxes stay high because we are so frightened of change that we are not prepared to embark on the path of prosperity.

Prosperity doesn't have to cost money, it makes money.

The one time in our recent history that we turned away from a poverty mind-set was when we finally addressed the problems of the downtown, and embarked on a prosperity initiative to see the heart of our city revitalized and acknowledged as a model for urban renewal. Not only did we create more living accomodation for people from all walks of life, we also created Harmony Square as the wonderful community meeting place that it has proven to be, and we did it by investing in, and partnering with, post-secondary education. We now accept 2,500 students into our community, while our own young people have the opportunity for higher education like they have never experienced before -- and let's face it the root of prosperity is education.

The title Prosperity Initiative is shortened to Pi, and Pi is the mathematical constant 3.14159 which appears in mathematics, science and engineering, it has been around since humans started to build and it continues today as we expand our thinking into new fields of endeavor -- the very definition of a "constant."

Pi as a mathematical constant is a foundation for growth and understanding, I would propose that our "community constant" be Prosperity and we begin by embracing the Prosperity Initiative.