At long last, the Radium mill has started up again, giving viable employment to many in the area with more opportunity yet to come.

What an interesting time to be a valley resident. Being a rural area, our focus is more on our surrounding lands and resources than, say, what those living in cities typically might experience.

And its these lands and resources that provide many with the economic circumstances to be able to afford the basic costs of day-to-day living as well as the lifestyles we all crave living in arguable one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The mill isn’t the only development taking place on Crown land that the local communities stand to benefit by.

The proposal for  a community forest in the Columbia Valley is on hold until the province-wide timber supply review has been completed, but when the proposal eventually takes root then the Columbia Headwaters Community Forest will allow local government control and stewardship over local forest resources, with the aim managing these resources as  our communities sees fit.

A backcountry access managment plan for the Columbia Valley is also still in the works. After a long summer hiatus, Columbia Valley Recreation Access Coalition talks began again on Monday (November 5) night.

The aim? To better manage land use in the region’s backcountry areas in order to decrease conflict between various user groups as well as minimize environmental degradation — both key to developing the Columbia Valley as a world-renowned outdoor adventure destination in order to bring in more tourist dollars and ultimately boost the health and vibrancy of the local economy.

Then we have Jumbo Glacier Resort, which supporters believe fervently will bring untold prosperity to the region, although this belief is just as fervently disputed by those who oppose it.

The Crown land that surrounds Invermere, Radium, Canal Flats and the rest of the valley is precious to those of us who live here. How it’s managed into the future will be the indicator of how passionately we believe in ourselves and what we are capable of, and how willing we are to overlook our differences in order to work together.