community matters

There are battle line drawn in the shores and school yards of Salmon Arm, British Columbia. Citizens are faced with both the largest  EVER development proposed in Salmon Arm and possibly the largest EVER cuts from the B.C. Ministry of Education.

Coincidence? I think not.

The Province of British Columbia may well have given up on the Interior. With dwindling tax revenues and the eyes of the world soon to be upon us for the Olympics, it’s clear to all groups that have experience funding cuts that what money there still is will be used for the “big show”. If we could afford it, it would be fine. But as it stands, we’re hosting a party of fine wine and expensive cheese knowing full well we’ll have to live on Kraft Diner to pay for it.

Developers know this too. Property values have declined. Small manufacturing and self sustained town economics are considered a thing of the past. Trouble is, when the global economy tanks, very few of us are isolated from the smack upside the head. Recently, SmartCentres, a mega shopping centre builder based in Vaughn Ontario, has purchased a parcel of land on the lake shore three kilometres from town. Their proposal? To pave over wetlands, among other things, and build an enormous big box mall, that would double the retail space in this little town. The promise of jobs, jobs, jobs and cheap, cheap prices is hard to resist.

But resist we must. Because education and economics go hand in hand. If we scrimp on education, we condemn our youth to a false economy of under employment and cheap consumerism, which Smart!Centres, the Canadian landlord for WalMart, will happily build for us – lake view included.

It’s a vicious circle and it needs breaking. Through community building and innovative thinking, we can remodel our educational and economic systems to ensure a meaningful future.

Much work has been done to bring these issues to light. Simply visit http://www.salmonarm.wordpress.com to see some of what’s at stake here or google Walmart Salmon Arm. It’s a doozie!

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