I was raised in Golden and have lived here (for the most part since 1972 – 40 years), I have raised a family in this community, and have grown a business in this town.
Some of the best people I have ever known have lived in this community, and many have died here as well.
I have not seen so many positive changes in those 40 years as has occurred in the last four years under Mayors Aman Virk and Christina Benty and Councillors Chris Hambruch, Caleb Moss, Mike Pecora, Ron Oszust, John Jackson, as well as past councillors Mag Magnusson, Jamie Fitzgerald and Kuljit Jaswal.
Whose resolutions have included the curb side re-cycling program, the anti-idling by-law, the ban on smoking in public parks, the restoration and renovations of the Civic Center, Spirit Square, the Summer Kicks Concert series (in conjunction with Kicking Horse Culture), and the “opt out” option for Smart Meters; as well as for their resolve in attracting many people downtown through signage and beautification.
Though some may not agree with all of these resolutions, we must recognize that these are all positive changes because they reflect well on our community and are therefore good business decisions – it’s all in the packaging.
Let me remind you that we all have a role to play in this, and there are many business owners who have risen to this as well including but not limited to; The Island Restaurant, The Bean Bag Coffee Roasters, The Rockwater, the Public Library, the Dental Clinic, the movie theatre for its upgrades to Digital 3D, and the many business fronts who have changed their façades and signs to reflect our community heritage of lumber through timber frame.
I am proud to live in a town that is as beautiful and vibrant as the mountains and marshes which surround it.
As a business owner myself, I appreciate the struggles other business owners have to go through to survive in a small town in the middle of a recession.
The quality of products and services offered in this town are bar none.
Golden has the best restaurants, the best cafes, the best live music, the best message therapists, the best clothing retailers, the best book store, and the best fitness and Yoga instructors.
Yet businesses are struggling.
A vast majority of businesses in town have put their best foot forward in upgrades, renovations, quality control of their products, and marketing, but yet business is slow.
Why? Joel Plasket (who performed at the Civic Center on last Wednesday Sept. 26) put it perfectly when he stated that he had been driving past Golden every year, at least once, since 1994 – 18 years and never stopped.
How many other thousands and hundreds of thousands of people are just like Joel – never stopping.
Its simple – people don’t need to; there is something else they are driving towards: something bigger, better, more beautiful.
But I don’t believe it: because we are that.
Joel Plasket played to a less than capacity audience, the most downloaded Canadian Artist of All Time, the first Canadian artist to be downloaded a million times and we didn’t show up.
Wow. Why is business slow? When we invest in our community, our community and the world invests in us.
In hind-sight I am glad the Bridge-to-Bridge project didn’t go through, because I want a bigger project, not a scaled back project. I want a project that encompasses both sides of the river and the Highway 95 bridge.
I want people to say when they stop for gas at the Husky or stop at MacDonald’s to say “Hey, What’s going on down there? Lets check it out.” I would invest $500.00 dollars a year, even a $1000.00 dollars a year if given the opportunity again for such a project, which would still only be a fraction of the price that my business spends on advertising alone.
The same principle of attracting tourists to downtown is the same principle as fishing – you have to stock the lake if you want to catch a fish.
Sure we could all stand around and watch one fish at a time jumping into our pool.
But you tell me why you would want to do that?
An investment into my community is a direct investment into my business, my neighbour’s business, and my son’s future job.
Every dollar I spend in this community benefits me – both directly and indirectly, as well as some of the best people I have had the honour and privilege of ever knowing.
C. Scott Ryan