Power to the people, on and off the water slide

One of the privileges of writing for a local newspaper is the chance to make a difference in people's lives once in a while.

Perhaps the most trivial example of this will be on display at Murray Bridge's swimming pool this Saturday, when the first person takes a ride on the "supa slide" – without paying an extra cent.

The council had proposed a $1 fee per ride, with cheaper day passes and season passes available.

The idea was not unreasonable, considering the cost of employing the extra lifeguards who will be required to keep an eye on slide-riders.

But it was not popular, either.

The people had their say, both in a poll conducted by The Standard and in conversations with their local councillors; the council re-considered its position at its next meeting; and the fee was dropped.

Now no-one who can afford the minimal cost of getting into the swimming centre will be denied a slide ride.

This is the reason we shine a light on the issues that vex our communities, such as the relationship between a private clinic and the Murray Bridge hospital's public emergency department: to achieve change that benefits ordinary people.

The attention can be uncomfortable or awkward for some, but we do not seek to paint anyone as villains; rather, to start conversations and ensure the public's will holds sway in public life, as is usually appropriate.

Thanks to all of you who express your opinions in polls, Facebook comments, letters and emails.

Thanks to those who help us carry on conversations in the pages of our newspaper.

And thanks to the decision-makers who listen, including the Murray Bridge council.

Peri Strathearn