If cities have souls, how would Powell River be described? So begins a journey of introspection, a quest for truth, a definition of character, spirit and direction.
The soul of a city is a strange admixture of cultural, commercial and natural life.
To get a sense of a city requires first holding up a mirror to feed back what the keystone issues and elements are. In a world with no mirrors to reflect back the state of the place, the condition of the culture, the only way to see one’s own reflection is in a pool of still water.
In gazing like Narcissus into the limpid depths around Powell River, what can be seen are not intimations of epic charisma and good looks—though the potential is there—the message is underpinned by a somewhat murkier reflection. Limpid pools speak more about what’s in them rather than what’s on them.
It is a city that, of late, is rather unlike Narcissus basking in his own reflection. Council and those opposed to co-treatment in its various forms are left to stare into murky, uncertain depths to make sense of the looming liquid waste management plan. Yes, it looms rather than is “poised” or “positioned,” two words that imply a strategic approach with a positive outcome.
According to those opposed, council, in a somewhat soiled effort to come out squeaky clean, is positioning and re-positioning itself to manufacture an outcome that may not reflect the wishes of the population at large. Council says it is trying to remain true to guiding principles that are in place but at the same time trying to preserve jobs and viability at the mill. Council is trying to save the taxpayers money on massive debt servicing in the event of a loan to cover a consolidated approach.
What does it mean to live in Powell River? What values are true to the character of the town? A mirror allows vision behind as well as in front. In ancient times, looking through the reflection on a mirror submerged in a pool of water offered the powers of divination—to see the future, to predict events, or to foresee what fates were waiting in the wings.
At present, the pool remains murky, dingy and offers no larger “vision,” despite the use of the disputed clarifier. Everyone gazes and peers for a reflection hoping to see an image of puerile virtue staring back.
In the end, as said, it is more about what’s in the pool than what’s on it.