As I wandered about in the Community Complex Kootenay Room I felt a thrill at seeing the Official Community Plan finally coming to fruition. It’s easy to get cynical about these things but as I have watched, mostly from a distance, and saw the amount of effort that has been made to engage the community and began to get an inkling about how responsive residents have been, I have been convinced that new ground is being broken here.
That conviction was strengthened when I took a moment to flip through a binder containing the previous OCP. There was nothing wrong with it, really. It was well-organized and thorough, and has very likely served us fairly well over the years. But to compare it to the boards that were taped to the room’s walls on that day would be to compare night and day. What we have here is a truly spectacular presentation, and one that makes it easy to generate more discussion and responses before the project is completed in the next month or two.
It seems like either you run among a very positive circle or perhaps the enthusiasm and optimism for our community’s future is simply overwhelming. Everywhere I go I ended up in conversations about how many really great things are happening these days. Swirls of activity, I call the phenomenon. There is connection and interplay, fewer or no silos, and nothing seems to be personality driven. There is a genuine coming together of people who want to be a part in shaping our tomorrow.
I have said it before, but I am convinced that this new attitude was shaped by the passing of the Community Complex referendum and the resulting renovations and additions. The residents of the Creston Valley took a leap forward in that process, demonstrating an understanding that while it might be cheaper and easier to stand by and let the status quo rule, it is an entirely different approach when we say Yes, and then go about planning to make the future a better one that it might otherwise be.
We are truly blessed with the Community Complex, the Creston library, our museum and archives, our determined business community, and so much, much more. Isn’t it wonderful to see local support for the agriculture sector? Or the efforts made to keep our health care services vital? Or the thousands who volunteer, in one way or another, simply because they share a belief that helping others is the best way to help ourselves?
On Sunday morning I popped over to the Farmer’s Market, hoping that I might be able to congratulate Jen Comer on her being named Farmers’ Market Manager of the Year by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. She had not returned from the conference, but I did grab the opportunity have a few chats. Dave Mutch, who nominated Jen for the award, is a prime example of someone who could easily have chosen other areas to settle in. His education and experience would serve him well elsewhere. But instead he is determined to make a go of it in his home town, and with the support of his partner, Amy, and his brother and mom, he has every right to feel optimistic.
It was Dave, I learned last week, who first put forward the idea of a community mobile fruit and vegetable press. The funny thing is that Dave has been building his William Tell juice business quite nicely without such a equipment, but he saw others who would also benefit from the equipment. He has been a tireless proponent of Fields Forward, sharing his knowledge and experience for the benefit of others. And he’d be the first to say that he is far from the only one.
After my chat with Dave I wandered over to visit with Cherie Luke, who with her partner, Dylan Fladz, has been slowly building up Coffee and Arrows with the goal of opening a paleo diet coffee bar. There is always plenty of buzz around the market about the products, and these two young people aren’t just keen, but smart enough to know that the future of small town business is in niche markets. I will be excited to watch them take the next step in their business plan, and I wish them every success.
Meanwhile, I will be gauging public response to the OCP, convinced that it will help shape the changes we most certainly will experience in years to come. And I hope that there is sufficient enthusiasm to make the proposed Market Park a reality. I think it could be the next giant step forward for Creston and the surrounding district.