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Mayor’s Column – January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017


I had the satisfying and calming pleasure of staying home between Christmas and New Year’s days. For seven days of twenty-four hours each I saw not the lights of town and I remember not anyone’s calling me on a matter of business. And I called no one. Oops, ‘scuse me, that is not exactly true, now that I remember. I am off by about two calls in and three out. But that’s not a bad record for seven days.

But I did think about our home town and the benefits of living here in relatively close proximity to friendly neighbouring communities. Dawson Creek and Fort St. John are frequently destination points as we have friends and relatives there. Tumbler Ridge becomes a place to go when we want to admire the mountain scenery of the Geo Park and take in a lunch before we return. Occasionally we drop in on Hudson’s Hope for similar reasons. It is quite usual to stop in Taylor as we pass on our way to visit our kids and Pouce Coupe, well, I can say this: the back-road access to Pouce Coupe is bucolically beautiful.

And to get to these destination points, of necessity and quite happily, we pass through the magnificent Areas called E, D, C, and B. I am sure we could find more picturesque and charming names, names more in keeping with the natural beauty and essence of the regions. Hey, Directors, how about bringing forward a resolution to rename your areas with titles more in harmony with the natural beauty and character of your territories?

I have heard folks from Kelowna or Vancouver wondering condescendingly about our love of the magnificent North East. Obviously, they haven’t taken the time to motor between Dawson Creek and Chetwynd on a grey January day when the clouds are suspended mid way between earth and sky, when the lynx saunters across the pavement providing a glimpse of her wild glory and looking back to see if we humans are admiring her wild freedom. Nor have they approached Pouce Coupe from the east on a late summer evening and caught the first sight of the valley with the twinklers of Dawson Creek beginning to mark the distance.

Or try the meandering way from Dawson Creek to Tumbler and on to Chetwynd passing from valleys of cattle and hay into mountains of timber where you might encounter the caribou, the moose, the grizzly bear, and get distant vistas of wild-goat country. (Or, if you are fit and brave enough, hike a well-thought-out trip into the Monkman. There you will, indeed, experience the wild in its pristine glory – if you are up to the challenge.) But don’t stop in Chetwynd. Follow the circle through Hudson’s Hope and on to Fort St. John where you can decide between North and South.

And we haven’t even scanned the brilliant, almost-blinding  yellow of canola fields in July, nor the valleys of our rivers – the Pine, the Halfway, the Beaton,  the Pouce, and the  Peace, and all the rest that I haven’t named – glimpsed from vantage points along our northern highways.

No, fellow citizens of this land we call ours (that we hold only in trust from its Creator), we are blessed indeed to live here where our freedoms are not yet as circumscribed as they would be in many other places. As we move deeper into 2017 let’s take stock of our surroundings and do our best to use our resources without abusing them

Happy New Year to all of you – and to all the visitors to our great North East.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor