Fast tracking economy fears

Fast tracking economy fears, Elli Kohnert, Barriere BC

To the editor;

Writing a letter to the editor was not on my to-do list for today, but after I read the article in the Jan. 23/2012, Star/Journal, Bell promises North Thompson/Robson region fast track to jobs and economic development, my legs made a fast track to my computer and my mind jumped into action.  A number of clever and catching phrases in the article caught my attention and it was easy to ‘put my shovel in and act’ no cautionary protocols required to be able to share my thoughts with anyone.

Mr. Bell’s inspirational comment “To grow and build the economic opportunities in this region” I thought could do with some translation.  Let’s see ‘to grow’ means to plant, care for and harvest when ripe; the ideas and tentative plans appear to center on immediacy – “six months to get shovels in the ground now” – mmm never noticed anything to grow that fast, and if growth had been forced, the products seemed to wither red and die.

Exactly what can the residents, the people who live in the North Thompson Valley, expect from projects that require more power, more land for building large structures, and most of all from ‘destination tourism’?  Have the movers and shakers noticed that tourism has been negatively affected by shaky economies in those countries that would provide the steady large flow of tourists that would provide the fertilizer to grow a steady crop for the destination tourism industry?

Will there be enough employment for young families, those who now trek to Alberta’s fertile oil fields? Will they grow roots in our part of the province once again after this valley lost nearly all the industry that kept people employed?

We had viable agriculture, families had farms where food was produced and most of it was used in the area; we had sawmills – several smaller ones alongside the large ones, we had a stable forest industry with the Forestry Administration in Barriere and Clearwater, teachers lived in our area and contributed to a healthy population mix.

I can see readers sadly shaking their heads, murmuring “what does she know of today’s society? We need BIG projects – in our global economy!”

Oh ya?  We are inviting, actually begging, foreign (East Asian) countries to invest their money with us, but I do not believe that they are in the least interested in the welfare of people who live in the Thompson/Robson Region.  Most investors are interested to get our natural resources and have them shipped to their countries, where they are fabricated by cheap labor into goods we will buy from them.  Does anyone notice something strange in this promised, wonderful, fast growing dream of wealth and stability in our area?

Yes, I am aware that we can’t turn back time, and there never were “the good old days”, but we had sanity and leadership that was not blinded by the glare of a global economy that never will be stable.

Does anyone dare to look into a different direction? Probably not, because money is the only value that the majority of our population can perceive.

I do thank society for reasonable freedom of speech; at least I am able to put my thoughts, worries, even fears out there without fearing drastic repercussions. Right?

Elli Kohnert

Barriere