The Columbia Valley may be an area of boundless natural beauty, but when it comes to value-added services that could make this area even more enjoyable to live in, it leaves a little to be desired.
My initial shock upon moving here and realizing the utter dearth of lakefront dining establishments has faded only slightly with time.
As a tourism magnet for those from urban centres, Invermere, Radium Hot Springs and surrounding areas shouldn’t aspire to offer everything that a city can. And I understand the economies of scale that dictate that scarcity of some things is the reality here.
But, were I to move past “needs” and get into “wants” as a resident of this remote valley, here are a few items that would make my list, in addition to the above-mentioned establishments:
• A coffee shop that is open past 5 p.m. Hey, let’s dare to dream: a coffee shop that’s open until almost midnight, and which serves as an all-ages venue for live music or open mic sessions.
• An outdoors gear store that carries a good range of quality technical equipment. My recent struggles to find an adequate headlamp — one of the most basic accessories for any day hike that might run the risk of including an evening return — illustrated this need to me.
• An independent cell phone sales and service store (as opposed to an outlet for one of the major carriers). Having a technician who’s able to carry out basic cell phone repairs, battery replacements and offer a range of service plans would be a great addition to Invermere. I speak from personal experience here, as my dogged efforts to shop locally for a replacement battery merely left me frustrated weeks later.
But before I get too carried away with what we don’t have, let me reflect for a moment on what ought to be appreciated about this place.
The 20 C temperature felt here on a stunning final day of March was enough to make me recognize what makes this valley such a desirable destination, as I was admiring the view of a snow-covered Chisel Peak from the Lake Windermere shore of the recently-opened James Chabot Provincial Park. A season-opening round of golf two days earlier shed some light for me as to why droves of tourists come here in search of long drives and perfect putts.
If I have failed to note the existence of the mentioend services in Invermere, or if any readers have their own suggestion of what kind of goods or services we could really use here, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org . Undoubtedly, I’ve missed quite a few.