Monday, August 02, 2010

Kitimat’s future legacy

Published in the Kitimat Northern Sentinel Editorial, July 14, 2010.
In the short time I've been here one thing is obvious.
Kitimat is on the cusp of change.
Enbridge may or may not build a pipeline, with its rewards of jobs and taxes, and risk of catastrophic environmental damage.
West Fraser may or may not sell Eurocan to the proposed cooperative, with its reward of jobs and risk of financial ruin.
Decisions made by District of Kitimat Council and the citizens of Kitimat over the coming months about these issues will effect Kitimat for the foreseeable future.
I've had the opportunity to learn a little bit about Kitimat's history through the library and a conversation with Kitimat Centennial Museum Curator Louise Avery.
In many different places and even across time is common to hear people speak with loss, hyperbole and cliché about "the good old days".
They will tell you with deep sincerity how great these "good old days" were.
They will explain passionately why and how things were better then and so much worse now.
And they will tell you, you who were not there to experience it first hand, how much in is that you've lost.
In most cases they are awash in nostalgia for memories they only imagine.
In most cases those "good old days" were never as good as they like to "remember".
In most cases the past was only a great place and time for a privileged few and blood, sweat, toil and tears for the rest.
Kitimat is different.
Kitimat was an international show case.
The world came to see how things were done here, how people lived and lived together.
Kitimat went into the world to show how things could be with hard work, boldness and intelligence.
Perhaps the streets were not literally paved with gold, but they were a well planned place to walk and you could make a good life for yourself here.
And your kids could too.
It could be that way again.
It will take hard work.
But you know that, and you already work hard.
It will take commitment.
But you know that too, and you are ready to commit.
It will take strong leadership.
Leadership is complex.
Literally, libraries of books have been written on leadership.
The civic and community leaders of Kitimat have hardworking, committed people behind them.
Now the people of Kitimat need leaders not to take them to their past, but to their future.

Related Links
Kitimat Northern Sentinel
Kitimat Museum
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