Fiddlers in a Small Town…Part 2

Further to the blog post

I always appreciate any feedback I get, so I thought I better clarify a wee bit…

My point was that, while we live in a magnificent small town…while it is a place that offers what many others want in terms of lifestyle, safety, beauty, etc…and it feels truly GREAT when we are attractive and sense just how much some others WANT to come and share in what we have here (move here with family for example)…

The concern is that it is very very difficult for people to actually do it…to actually move here and actually live here.

Until we are able to genuinely foster a sincere, meaningful sense of welcome to people who want to move here…we are only going to continue frollicking in the clouds feeling good about ourselves because we sense that “people sure like us and want what we got”.

Ok, so just what is a “sincere, meaningful sense of welcome”?

We DO have trails, safety, good schools (albeit with diminishing attendance), a beautiful downtown (albeit with vacancies & for sale signs)

We DO have a great parks and rec program, really great! and so on…and those “things” certainly help make us very attractive.

But…here’s also what we have:

– No Economic Development officer (how long has it been?)
– No Economic Development OFFICE
– No Chief Administrative Officer to oversee staff
– No new signage on the highway (again this summer) to promote local events!
– No new signage on the highway (again this summer) to promote local businesses

Frankly, as a SALESMAN for 30+ years, I understand how good it feels to talk about the positives!  We salespeople definitely understand how wonderful it feels to know that “they love what we got”.

But as a BUSINESS person for 15+ years in Summerland, I have lived first hand just how challenging it is for any jobs, new businesses, and INVESTMENT coming into this town.

But that’s all in the past, and with the economic truths we all face today, as great a place as Summerland is, the future is going to be much more challenging than it even has been!

Summerland will continue to face more of the school attendance declines, ongoing Main St vacancies, business closings and or relocations, and mothballed core assets like Glenfir School, the BC Fruit Packers Plant & Waterfront Cannery (sitting in receivership for years already).

And I hope this explains why, as a concerned business person, I sometimes choose to write as I do.  It’s just a cry for help!

Everyone wants to be a cheerleader, myself included.  But unless we as a business community at least START to think about maybe sort of facing up to some of the very hard economic truths that Summerland faces…that “spiral” IS gonna get us.

In closing, I wish to remind that Summerland Real Estate is doing better than it has in years.  So when I say “cry for help” it is not just a self pity or self interest thing about the industry my family happens to be heavily invested in.

It is about the town.  It is about the people of this town.  And the future of the town.
Patrick Murphy

PS After posting the above, I read in today’s Calgary Herald an article of interest…I have highlighted a sample of what makes people feel  a “sincere, meaningful sense of welcome”…note these quotes from a couple who ARE moving to the Okanagan:

“… golf villas as part of a larger vision that includes everything from a small inn, a culinary arts/wine centre and vineyards, and residences along the beachfront of Tuc-El-Nuit lake, which is just across the street from the golf course.”

“It is a great community in the heart of the desert. It has a hospital, and (the stores) I’m interested in and it is going to see growth with people like us…”

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