Build it and They Will Come

An editorial by Gazette editor/publisher Kathy O'Reilly Taylor

A few times since I’ve moved to Port Hardy I’ve heard people say ‘no one wants to move here’, or ‘we can’t get doctors to move here’ (which might explain why I had to spend over three hours in emergency one morning, because I couldn’t get in to see a doctor at the clinic, and was then asked ‘why didn’t you go to the clinic?’, but that’s another editorial).

I respectfully disagree.

If the North Island can’t get people to move here, it’s because we are using the wrong sales pitch.

Almost everyone I have met loves it here. The residents are the kindest and most welcoming I have ever met. Why wouldn’t people want to move here?

The location is magical.

I have met numerous people who have moved here, because they love it here.

Just last week a gentlemen came into the office.

He had been living in Picture Butte, Alberta, close to my old stomping grounds in Pincher Creek.

He and his wife used to come up to the North Island every summer to fish.

Then they thought ‘why not move here and go back to Alberta to visit?’

So that’s what they did.

I feel there are opportunities here in the Tri Port area for more unique, niche businesses, and for some that offer the basic necessities.

My brother has been very ill lately. I had to go down island to take my car in for warranty servicing.  I must have passed a cemetery, and because I have been stressed about my brother, I wondered – “Does the Tri Port have a funeral home.”

When I got back home, I asked around and the answer is ‘no’. I am shocked that people have to send their deceased loved ones down island.

I know right now, many people feel the only time it is busy here is in the summer, and through the winter some struggle.

But that can be addressed by giving people a reason to come the rest of the year.

I lived and worked in Lake Louise as a waitress.

Lake Louise is pretty dead in the off-season.

So rather than sitting empty my hotel introduced a wildly successful Slim Inn that they ran in the shoulder seasons for six weeks before the summer tourist season started and for six weeks in the fall before ski season started.

The Slim Inn brought in about 60 women a week who would come from all over to eat three healthy, weight-conscious meals a day, go for guided walks and hikes, exercise, attend seminars, have massages, etc.

Something like that would help bring tourists here in the winter months and all businesses and residents would benefit from them being here.

The world is our oyster up here on the North Island. We just need to believe in ourselves and get the word out to people who are looking for a better way of life.

If we build it they will come.

 

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