It is not a secret that the Creston Valley does not provide sufficient or meaningful job opportunities. As a result, young adults and families are either not coming in or are often moving where jobs are.
Being troubled by this, I believe there is a need for change. What can we do? Let’s turn things around and combine several “problems” into one workable solution:
1. We all know beetle bug is eating our forests away. That creates fire hazard in the process. It does not beautify our landscape, either.
2. Federal and provincial governments promised $1 billion over 10 years to deal with it.
3. Canada spends billions per year in foreign aid.
Here is where we can get creative, saving a pile of taxpayers’ money (usually squandered redundantly away), lower our unemployment, get some people off welfare and get rid of beetle bug infested forests. How? By harvesting trees that are still of value, making it into lumber, plywood, doors, etc., sending products instead of cash to disaster stricken parts of the world with Canadian crews on Canadian ships that will teach respective locals how to build simple safe dwellings, schools or hospitals.
Can you imagine Creston Valley “adopting” a few disaster stricken areas around the world helping them to get on their feet? Leftovers could be used for firewood, wood pellets or even to run a small power plant. Reforestation and diversification of wood species are other components of lasting solution but this is for another article.
In our area there is at least one organization I would trust with being the go-between, organizing whole process — Kootenay Employment Services. It knows about unemployed, underemployed, welfare recipients willing to get trained and work. KES has plenty of experience reaching to all levels of government, businesses and organizations. It would become a wheel hub, ensuring accountability, transparency and fairness, bringing together existing businesses and trainees.
This way, local forests, the problem, would bring so much needed employment at virtually no additional cost to Canadian taxpayers, boosting local economy and enhancing sustainability at the same time.
Last time I heard, there are some 600 people in our valley looking for work. Add commuters working anywhere from Cran-brook to Calgary to Fort McMurray and it will take your breath away. For me this is not acceptable. We can do better than that. We can keep our youngsters, families even few generations together right here in Creston Valley, can’t we?
I approached with this concept various officials, individuals and businessmen including my area director, Larry Binks. They were all very interested in giving a helping hand and moving things forward.
What can you do, fellow citizens? Well, if this is not only my but your idea for solving the problem, if you know your MP or MLA, other officials, business owners or folks interested in solutions, could you please spread the word and request an action? Remember, one thousand small voices can become a mighty unstoppable river.
Vladimir Certik believes that thinking outside the box and engaging fellow citizens may bring simple solutions to complex problems. The West Creston resident can be reached at 250-402-0055.