We need to recognize strengths

Greenwood resident Curtis Chamberlain argues for a future economy driven by tourism and retirement living for the city.

Greenwood is a tourist town with the potential to become a retirement town. This is a fundamental reality, which must be accepted as such if there is to be any hope for Greenwood’s future.

On any given day during the spring, summer and autumn months, there is a steady trickle of sightseers driving by or wandering through the town’s historic neighbourhoods, absorbing its scruffy charm and connecting with a sense of its rugged past. A connection to the past is a thing sadly lost in a world rushing toward an uncertain future, and it’s a loss felt most deeply by a generation now moving into retirement.

The “Baby Boomers” grew up in a time of dramatic social change, spearheaded by their own idealism, defined by a love of nature, simplicity and peace. Though their idealism was largely compromised by the requirements of adulthood and the realization that greed and indifference fuelled the economic model upon which they depended for survival, it was never snuffed out.

Now, as they wander, starry-eyed, through Greenwoods streets, they see this tattered jewel set among rolling hills and forests, and some, in this deluded state think, “What a lovely place this would be to live…” and a few actually act on that thought.

Three or four years later, when reality sets in, the “For Sale” signs go up. This is why real estate is so much cheaper in Greenwood than virtually anywhere else in the province; why more people want out than in, why the saying, “You buy in Greenwood, you die in Greenwood” rings true.

This could change, but it would take an attitude shift. Greenwood is too deeply lodged in the 1950s to ever be moved in the 21st century (with the exception of that hideous cellphone tower), nor should it, that would defeat the purpose. But if we could just move our attitudes forward a decade or two, it would make this town a much less hostile place for the delusional idealists upon whom our future depends. That’s a tall order, insurmountable perhaps.

We need a wake-up call. We have to stop hitching our hopes to every pump and dump mining company that wanders into town with a plan to leverage our resource history into a run-up on the Venture Exchange. There’s no future in that, or any other resource based industry that simply wants to take what we have and sell it to the highest bidder.

We need to recognize our strengths; our history and peaceful, natural surroundings. We need to start seeing what the starry-eyed idealists who wander our streets see. If we can do that, the rest will follow.

Curtis Chamberlain, Greenwood


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