That was then, this is now

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Gord Turner weighs in with a varied year-end, New Year point of view

You might not recognize these phrases as the title of a novel. However that may be, these words describe the past and open up the future.

In 2012 past, many wonderful events happened in Castlegar, and some of them had national significance.  For example, Castlegar was named a five-bloom city in the “Cities in Bloom” competition. That was followed by Castlegar being named as the national “Cities in Bloom” champion in its category.

Often as well during these competitions, cities are singled out for outstanding features or events. One year I remember the Doukhobor Discovery Centre being listed by the judges.  In 2012 past, the judges gave a special citation to Castlegar for its Sculpture walk display. Always on the watch for special attractions, the judges obviously recognized the prominence of Sculpture walk.

In 2012 past, Castlegar experienced two major rainstorms that old-timers cannot remember the equal of.  It had been a rainy summer earlier, so much so that Castlegar postponed its Canada Day celebrations. Then on July 14 the black sky dumped millions of gallons of water on our valley, and a huge wind storm knocked over large evergreen trees. Basements were flooded and river banks eroded.

Just as people cleaned that up, an even-larger storm hit on July 17th and saturated Castlegar. Basements that had flooded were flooded again. River banks crumbled and took lawns and gardens with them. In some cases, houses were on the brink of being lost.

But in 2012 past, we got past that due to ingenuity, insurance, and the City’s marvelous work crews. Castlegarians showed they are really a resilient group of people.

In 2012 past, Selkirk College had several tributes come its way.  The biggest, however, was former Selkirk College English and Creative Writing instructor, Fred Wah, being named the Poet Laureate for Canada. The author of a number of books and a winner of the Governor-General’s award for poetry in 1987, Wah returned to be part of Selkirk College’s graduation in April. At that ceremony, he was declared a Selkirk College “Distinguished Educator.”

In 2012 past, the City of Castlegar, operators of the West Kootenay Regional Airport, made its pitch to WestJet to be considered in WestJet’s future expansion plans. The City set funds aside to design a radar-oriented flight pattern into Castlegar if WestJet chose Castlegar. WestJet’s planes are equipped with instruments that make it possible to use this type of flight pattern, and thus arrive when cloud levels are lower.

In 2012 past, Castlegarians held their breaths and fervently hoped for a positive outcome to this venture. They are still waiting as Westjet will make its decisions known in 2013 future.

A WestJet “yes” would be a big boost to Castlegar in 2013 future.  Residents have been speaking angrily and satirically about “Cancelgar” for years. They forget that at least they have an airport due to the foresight of our pioneers in the late 1940s and 50s.  An airport is better than no airport at all. But, let’s face it, WestJet would be a welcome addition.

A 2013 future item of more immediate significance will occur when Fortis consolidates its West Kootenay operations in Castlegar at the old Ootischenia school site. That will bring major construction to the community, add over a hundred ongoing jobs, and increase the City’s tax base.

In regard to yours truly, your bi-weekly columnist, June 30 in 2012 past was his date of retirement from instructing at Selkirk College, and he has enjoyed this new section of his life.  In 2013 future, he plans to travel more—and more.

Happy New Year!

May all your futures be dazzling.

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