Now that 2017 is here and 2016 is in the rearview mirror, it is clear that the ongoing battle between optimism and pessimism will continue this year among many of the region’s residents.
Optimists believe that elected officials and local interest groups will do what is right for the community and find a way to balance what has been established in the past with more changes that are on the horizon.
A tough balance, to be sure, but one that optimists believe can be accomplished with cooperation and willingness to change for the better.
Pessimists are more cautious, sometimes even a little suspicious. They believe that the Powell River area is fine the way it is and that change is unwelcome and potentially even dangerous. Pessimists are quick to point to personal and business agendas getting in the way of what is best for this town, and they jump on potential conflicts of interest and the possibility of corruption.
While both schools of thought have their merits and drawbacks, the one clear prediction for 2017 is these two types of residents will be at odds even more in the coming year.
The division between those who want to see Powell River change and those who do not will become more expansive, and hot-button issues such as transportation, infrastructure decisions, Chinese investment, employment and industry, housing options and the need for more developed social programs will only escalate.
A provincial election featuring strong-willed candidates in our riding, who are sure to battle hard until election day, will only serve to fuel this fire.
Every community has differing opinions on where the future should take it, and Powell River is no exception.
In fact, disagreements over where we are headed are even more pronounced here due to our secluded geographical location, mill-town history, outdated attitudes and beliefs and, yes, prejudice against outsiders.
Those who are willing to see the full picture deserve to be applauded for their foresight and open-mindedness, and those who are not will have to come to terms with the plain fact that Powell River is changing, and changing fast.
For better or worse? Well, that’s the eternal question. Meanwhile, the Peak will be watching and reporting.
Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor