Meet the Mayor
March 25, 2015
With your normal preoccupation with the routine duties and pleasures of life – jobs, no job, bill payments, hockey lessons, no hockey lessons, sore throats, and school lunches, Chetwynd’s relationships with its neighbouring communities and surrounding rural areas probably don’t capture a lot of your attention.
Today, Chetwynd’s relationships with our neighbours couldn’t be more crucial to our future. Your successive Mayors and Councils, with the expert help of their Administrations, have endeavoured over decades to cultivate and nurture good relationships. And aside from our being ordinary good people, it’s very good business. It just makes sense.
Take our recreation centre as an example of the results of cooperation. This facility is the pride of Chetwynd. Visitors to town are astonished that a community the size of Chetwynd has such a well-built, well-kept, and comprehensive recreational facility available to the users, no matter if you live within Chetwynd or outside, at the same cost.
Apparently Chetwynd and the benefiting parts of Area E just outside our borders are unique in Canada for this kind of cooperation. I learned this last week. It astonishes me, too. Why is it so difficult for people to get together to identify common goals and then to achieve them? Apparently the time-honored urge to get the most and be the strongest gets in the way of good business and common sense.
Right now, as we manoeuvre for advantage in the Fair Share negotiations, I suggest to you that it could be in our best interest to seek for common ground with Government. I suggest that Chetwynd needs to be cognizant of the needs of the other municipalities and rural areas in the Peace River region. I also suggest that the other municipalities and the rural areas need to put a bit of effort into understanding the meaning of the words they use. Are they intended to baffle or communicate?
Above all, we need to come together in a united front. Though Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge are the outliers in a region that is more and more known for its unconventional gas industry, we still occupy part of the same territory east of the mountains that separate us from the rest of British Columbia.
We can be confident of this: if we in the northeast fail to unite with a common goal and common approaches in these Fair Share negotiations, the Government of British Columbia will not fail to take advantage of our weakness for its own benefit.
What are some of our not-so-common needs?
Maybe the first need is to put aside things that have divided us in the past.
We certainly need to trust one another as communities, elected officials, and administrators working together for the good of each for all.
Without a doubt we need to remember that what is good for Chetwynd probably is good for Taylor, Pouce Coupe, Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, and the rural areas surrounding and embracing us all.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor