By Dean Midyette
Last week I took the opportunity to attend two evening meetings in Canal Flats, a regular council meeting and an economic development meeting. At issue at the regular council meeting was whether a rezoning application would be approved.
The Canal Flats council needs to be commended as they did exactly what they were elected to do which is to study in detail the pros and cons of the proposal and render an informed decision. This statement would be true regardless of the outcome of the vote.
One comment made during the bylaw discussion was that the community was divided. I strongly disagree. What I saw during both meetings were residents who are engaged and passionate about the future of their community. You don’t get over 20% of the population in a municipality showing up for a public hearing if people don’t care.
Canal Flats is a place where neighbours look out for each other. It’s a place where people greet each other by name and clear the driveway next door after a heavy snowfall. When a family falls on hard times the people of Canal Flats rally to help, lending their support and assistance however they can. There may be small disagreements but as a community they are unified in their values. Divided they are not.
There will be some challenges ahead as the village transitions from a mill town to a more diverse economy. There will be differences of opinion on the direction that should be taken and the vision for the community. It’s OK to disagree, remembering that respectful conversations between residents will result in a unified path forward with the goal being the attraction of new families as well as welcoming new businesses and investors.
The most important asset that Canal Flats has is not the arena, nor the only public boat launch on Columbia Lake. It’s the people, and my family and I are proud to call Canal Flats home.