It was great to hear John Les speak positively about the agricultural potential of the Lillooet area. His presentation came 10 days after Arnold Malm shared his memories of 1940’s Lillooet when Japanese-Canadians planted miles of tomato fields that flourished along the Fraser River. Could our area be, as John Les said, the garden of British Columbia?
We hope so. However, the MLA’s presentation was probably not as well-received by anyone hoping to hear that the provincial government has big plans to invest in agriculture, agri-tourism, transportation or other local economic initiatives.
As Les wryly observed, “Not all of the best ideas come from government initiatives.” The entrepreneurs with good ideas, the energy to sell them and the capital to invest in them will always play a huge role in driving any economic engine.
There’s no doubt Lillooet’s economy has struggled over the last decade. The softwood lumber dispute, the Campbell government’s brutal closure of government services, the loss of a viable rail service and the tough transition away from a resource-based economy have all played roles in the downturn.
Despite opposition from some quarters, the District of Lillooet is forging ahead with its plans for the new $10 million water treatment project. The day Lillooet has a safe, sustainable water supply is the day the community will finally be able to plan realistically for future growth and development.
Once the water debate winds down, we hope Lillooet can heal and move forward. Too much time and energy has been expended on issues that drove a wedge into our community. For the sake of the town we all love, let’s focus on finding common ground. With that change, Lillooet would be a healthier place, psychologically, and would be more united and better prepared to embrace future opportunities.
That’s something we do have control over – how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world and to potential investors. It’s easy to destroy something. It takes much more commitment and creativity to build something. Words to live by. For all of us.