While there were a number of recurring issues in the election campaign that wound down this weekend, one that stayed consistent from community to community, through nearly every candidate was economic development.
Looking back through the responses to Q&As and the answers given at various meet and greet events, it’s near-impossible to come up with a candidate who wasn’t in favour of improving tourism, or diversifying the economy, or finding ways to balance the valley’s summer and winter seasons. And it was equally impossible to find an event where audience members weren’t bringing those issues up.
So, safe to say, there’s an appetite for growing the economy and a little shameless valley self-promotion.
Well, the votes are in and the choices are made. It’s time to starting walking the walk, valley. But it’s not all up to the handful of men and women we’ve voted in.
On the facing page, publisher Marilyn Berry’s Ramble On will give you the run downon an extremely busy weekend that acts as something of a kickoff for a winter full of big ideas. From Light Up Night to the Whiteway expansion to the multi-day pond hockey tournament coming our way in the new year, there are plenty of activities coming down the pass that are designed to do all those things we talked about during the campaign — attract people during other seasons, boost tourism dollars, make the local economy a little less summer-dependent.
It’s not just Invermere that’s making plans, either. Radium Hot Springs councillors have some serious community branding plans, and mayor Dee Conklin has mentioned adding more community events to the village social calendar is one of her goals for the next term.
But none of the grand plans work if the people who asked for them don’t turn up and get involved.
Since it’s the closest, Light Up Night is a good place to start. Events like that are all about atmosphere as it is. The more of us out there with our mittens on, lining up for Santa or taking a peek in the local stores the better. And as a bonus, it’s a rare time when staying true to our principles also means drinking delicious hot chocolate.
—The Valley Echo