August 9, 2017
I just returned from a drive about our town and I congratulate you all on the spirit that I see at work here. Chetwynd is busy, not with an aimless coming and going, but with a purposeful, businesslike drive that is the sign of a community that supports and appreciates its citizens.
And not only that, Chetwynd is beautiful. The majority of residences are well kept, tidy, attractive. Business and industry are moving toward a more settled, sophisticated appearance. Give us another generation and the rough edges within our borders will be but faint memories. We’ll try to recall the difficult times but they will be all mixed up with the good times and we will see only the progress we have made.
So, back to the present. Every bed for rent in town is rented and more workers than Chetwynd can accommodate are pouring into town to link together the pipes that you may have seen stacked in strategic locations outside town. (You will soon see them moving through town to their permanent locations as components of gas pipelines buried in the northern soil.) Accommodation, grocery, fuel, and convenience merchants will be taking the largest share of the profits spinning off in Chetwynd but there will be others who will realize major benefits during the pipeline construction period.
I guess that is how it is in a northern industrial community that takes pride in its history, its present, and its future. Those who are positioned to take advantage of the opportunities get to reap the rewards. Others, like me, born forty years too soon only get to watch it happen. But forty years ago in another era I had my own opportunities and Chetwynd has been good to me. Thank you, Chetwynd.
To the generation coming on stream during the next decade (decades have a way of slipping by without our notice) I would offer a wee bit of wisdom salvaged from the ravages of time: prepare, prepare, prepare! Even if you have to forgo present gratification (a new car, a quad, maybe a side-by-side – you know, the toys we all like but really can’t afford), prepare and be ready.
If you can understand and follow directions, if you can read a technical document and translate it into on-the-job expertise, if you can write a coherent paragraph, if you can appreciate the works of the classical poets, if you have a working knowledge of mechanical principles, if you are a go-getter and a self-starter who respects others’ boundaries, and if your grasp of history and science gives you a rational world view, you are well on the way to being a prime candidate for the opportunities the future will present. Be sure of this: tomorrow’s opportunities likely will not closely resemble the opportunities life handed to the generations before you.
But middle school and secondary school are the venues for building the foundation for those absolutely essential skills and attitudes. Don’t wait until mom and dad have shown you the door and wished you well. Do it while they are still paying the bills.
It seems like my drive around town has taken a few turns not on the map. So be it. I guess it’s okay to muse a bit once in a while. Oh, by the way, the dates on your calendar may be closer than they appear.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor