Meet the Mayor
January 9, 2014
About three weeks ago our water softener cratered in the middle of the night after twenty-five years of uncomplaining service. Repair was not an option. Replacing was. Choosing the right model is a challenge and the advice of an expert is essential. But to find an expert with the time to talk is the most challenging part of the whole process. In the end we went with a Sears model (Sears does have an outlet in Chetwynd).
But the problem does not end with hauling home the new piece of equipment. I’m not a plumber and installation of the new appliance required rerouting of one-inch copper pipes with its attendant cutting and soldering. Ever try to find a plumber who will answer the phone? One did but he was in Vancouver.
Eventually, recognizing the effect of hard water on sinks and tubs, not to mention the gritty feel of the shower, I got out my tools and went to work. It turned into a full-Sunday exercise during which I controlled my temper as I pushed forward in the frustrating process. Result: a little blood on the tools but no leaks, serious burns, or broken parts and, in the end, soft water. But I’m not going to show my solder joints to any plumber worth his plumber’s wage – of that you can be sure!
During the exercise I discovered that I am not the only kid on the block looking for a plumber – or an electrician, or a carpenter. These highly skilled trades are in short supply in our home town. Home towns need coal mines, pulp mills, saw mills, ranchers, bus drivers, school teachers, doctors, and all those other skills and enterprises that keep the wheels of fortune turning for us. No, I don’t believe in fortune. Let’s call it life moving ahead.
But we also need the building trades available to us ordinary folks within a reasonable waiting period when we need to install a water softener or a new bathroom or wire a shop.
A strong and progressive community requires locally sourced professional trades services to maintain is muscle tone and the quality of life to which we aspire. We amateurs should not be permitted to risk house and property, maybe even life, with a poorly controlled soldering torch. The trades are an essential part of the fabric of community that enhance our quality of life and encourage us to stay in town and put our roots deep.
You parents who still have some influence over the lives of your offspring, get this: university is OK if you can’t do anything else but there are careers to be had in the trades that are satisfying, elevating, enriching, and welcoming to smart kids. In fact, the smarter the kid, the more successful she will be in a trade. The smarter the kid the higher she will rise in the trades. Let’s encourage those smart kids to get into building trades close to home.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor