It seemed to fly by, as weeks do when they are exceptionally hectic and filled with unusual stories.
It really started last Tuesday, when I went down to the Creston Education Centre to watch the live video stream of the School District No. 8 regular board meeting. I went directly from the Town Council meeting, which had no mention of anything to do with the CEC. But a little bird had told me earlier in the day that attending the video of the Board of School Trustees meeting might reveal some news.
It didn’t take long, despite the dark video and crappy audio, before Chair Lenora Trenamen could be heard making an announcement. A “collaboration” had been worked out that would allow HomeLinks, Wildflower, and Strong Start to remain in situ, and also keep itinerant services in the building.
Of course the next day we learned that the property, along with the strip on the north side of PCSS, is being purchased by the Town of Creston. The latter is strategic on the Town’s part, helping to solidify plans for the Highway 3/Cook Street realignment.
As a supporter of the CEC, I saw much more to that part of the deal than just keeping the umbrella of services intact. Consider the potential for that property to be sold to private interests, leaving the building empty. In a year or two, the Town Council of the day would be faced with rezoning the property for commercial and/or residential use. That Council would have the option of rezoning, which would remove a valuable portion of green space from public control, or deny the application and stick the owners—and the public—with another “bunker”. Can you say Hobson’s choice, boys, and girls?
Some of that joy was tempered on Friday when we learned that Town Manager Lou Varela will be leaving her position. “Lou Varela came to Creston, and Creston bloomed,” came one comment in the aftermath. Varela came to the position without direct municipal management experience, filling a post that had been co-managed by other staff for a year. There was no smooth transition from one manager to the next, with the Town Council of the day pushing out the previous administrator long before hiring a replacement.
Varela’s experience and education in planning, as well as a strong work ethic, forward-thinking vision and excellent people skills, have served us well for eight years. But in the past year, I have noticed the stress taking its toll, and commented to her about it. She was never less than upbeat and optimistic in her response. I suspect the stress has become even greater in recent months, with some of the opponents of the fire hall referendum being spiteful, vindictive and, all too often, willfully ignorant, particularly on social media. I read one post that claimed that Varela had given Town Council a raise after the last election, and it’s a comment that I would love to see being defended in a court of law. Nothing could have been further from the truth and, in fact, it simply can’t happen that way. But why worry about the facts when you can just make up your own?
Not everything that caught my attention was local last week, though. Each day, as I scan through my many dozens of emails, I note a growing number of offers from Internet enterprises. “I loved the story you ran about…”, they begin, and then go on to make an offer to tie in their products or services with our newspaper website. But one, in particular, took the cake.
I made a quick scan and was moving a finger to the Delete button when something caught my attention. The link to the story that instigated the email included keywords that made me realize the article in question was one about the Toronto accused serial killer who placed parts of his victims in large planters.
The writer of the email was offering to put his own business link with the story. He has a crafts business and offers a publication with 20 macramé projects. I was left to think that he was attempting to connect with the lucrative serial killer market, going after others who put body parts in planters because, really, how else to take your crime to the next level than by making a macramé hanger for said objects?
It really was quite a week.