Letters to the editor – August 17

I speak for the trees, and for things that make sense

Re: “Lizard Creek Subdivision approved” on Aug. 9, 2017

Riverside, Alpine Trails at Fairy Creek, the Cedars, Canyon Trails, Montane Developments, Timber Landing, Burma Road Estates, Lizard Creek Subdivision—when I was young, these names meant nothing. They were just forest, grassy fields, wild.

Today, however, they are representative of a small mountain town that continues to change by way of marketing itself. And that’s okay because we love Fernie. We love its hiking trails, biking trails, its back roads, and its storefronts. We love its proximity to the woods, its mountain culture, its fly-fishing and skiing.

We love its history, and historically, change happens. If change means positive growth, contribution to community, new families, and flourishing businesses, change isn’t a bad thing.

Except, when it is – Except when every fibre of your being and of your neighbours represents sheer disapproval of it; a loud and vocal disapproval, a 400-letter disapproval.

449 letters were signed and sent to the RDEK opposing the approval of the new Lizard Creek Subdivision. I signed one of them. And contrary to what Mr. Sosnowski would have one believe, my signature was no “stunt.”

I signed it because I walk or bike past subdivisions that have been approved for years but have not yet been built. Some of them remain empty, just a map on a sign encouraging sales. Some of them are concrete pads with rebar, surrounded by unsightly metal fences. I signed it because when science tells you that wildlife population is in significant decline in an area, you don’t approve something that continues to encourage that decline. You try to conserve and rebuild it.

For more than any other reason, I signed it because it quite literally makes no sense to approve more subdivisions within a community that is said to value its ruggedness, and its proximity to the wild, when currently approved subdivisions are not yet completed.

It just doesn’t make sense.

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, and not on what they have to gain.” What do we as a community—a community of coffee-drinkers, mountain bikers, gardeners, skiers, bar hoppers, hunters, outdoor-lovers, clothes-shoppers—what do we have to gain in this approval? Not much.

But it sure feels like we have a lot to lose.

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. But if the people who are meant to listen do not, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Jesse Bell,

Fernie, B.C.