By Rose-Marie Fagerholm
The Columbia Valley is a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to call home. Apart from a work contract in the United States, for the past 23 years this valley between the Purcells and the Rocky Mountains has been my home, place of work and where I raised my family.
Although my kids left to pursue post-secondary education and their adult lives elsewhere, I know that their appreciation of a childhood spent here continues to grow every year they are away and gain perspective on the world.
And now, as I also depart, excited to start a new chapter of my life, this place will claim a special spot in my heart.
Besides being surrounded by breathtaking nature, we are fortunate to belong to a place with such an impressive sense of community; neighbours and friends pitching in without question when the need arises. Since the economic downturn hit us hard in 2009, there has been a significant growing effort by stakeholders to collaborate to make this valley better so that it provides what people here need to sustain themselves. This will continue to be a work in progress and our communities and our residents will be better for it.
It has been a privilege to work as the publisher of The Columbia Valley Pioneer and The Valley Echo, and I will remember this time fondly because of my amazing hard-working staff, supportive peers and the community-at-large. And my loving family and friends. Peoples passion on issues and the ensuing debates, letters to the editor, cheers and jeers submissions (especially the ones sent after midnight) have provided me with no shortage of enjoyment, and sometimes frustration, causing me to shake my head at the sheer silliness Ive witnessed. My time on various boards including the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce has been rewarding beyond my imagination and allowed me to gain further insight into local and provincial issues.
An engaged community is a necessity for healthy neighbourhoods. It fosters respectful discussion and debate, which then challenges the status quo and promotes change. We need to change to remain vibrant and viable.
Be kind. Be compassionate. Continue to debate and question with respect for those who may hold differing opinions.