by Lori Raudnask

Change is inevitable. We have three choices… reject the change, accept the change or be the change.

I was born and raised in Stoney Creek on Millen Road. Over the years, every time I drive up Millen Road to visit my mom and dad, I still can’t believe the changes that have happened on their street. The homes that I grew up playing at are no longer standing and have been replaced by huge, modern houses. When I was a student at Orchard Park Secondary School, the fields we hung around in have since been converted into well developed surveys and I have lived in one of those homes for 28 years. We watched the trees grow along our fence line and haven’t had a good view of Dewitt Road for close to 15 years because of the trees. Our yard was beautiful and the trees allowed us a sense of privacy and beautiful nature. That was until a few weeks ago when the Davey truck pulled up and started cutting down our 13 large ash trees. For those who haven’t heard, the whole Stoney Creek community has been hit by the emerald ash borer infestation that is spreading rapidly among the city’s ash trees. I sat on my deck and had a few tears drop as I watched our privacy vanish before my eyes. I walked out to Dewitt Road later that day and the crossing guard had a smile on her face as she said, ‘it looks so clean now.” I was surprised by her comment but then I had to admit this was from her perspective, not mine. Thousands of Stoney Creek residents have had to watch their trees vanish knowing there is nothing they could do about it. We are not in control of this change.

As I sat on the deck I couldn’t help but notice how the squirrels reacted to this change. They ran along the top of fence, stopped at where the trees use to be and paused. Nature knows instinctively how to move forward when change occurs. It didn’t take long for the squirrel to find a new tree.

Let’s face it, most people don’t like change. Anytime we are trying to make a change in our lives, it’s like paving a new road. It happens in stages. It can be tempting to take the “old road” because that road is already paved and familiar. But, the familiar isn’t going to push us farther, or get us to our destiny. Taking the road less traveled or breaking new ground—that’s how we learn, grow and develop.

Our community will see some change now that the election is over. New leaders will be asked to step up, jobs will be changed, skills must be developed and employees may feel uncertain and resistant. Some of these changes you may like and some you may not. Mind you, did you vote? How will you deal with change? Will you embrace the new and move forward or will change hold you back?

Lori Raudnask is the President of the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce