Over the past three years, I’ve been repeatedly asked how I like being a politician. It always throws me off, because I don’t see myself as a “politician.” In my mind, I’m just a community member who stepped up to serve my town to the best of my ability, at an incredibly exciting point in its development. The recent misinformation leading up to the Fire Hall referendum for borrowing, and the misrepresentation being reflected of council is doing our community a great disservice. Sorry to those who love political intrigue, but there’s no hidden agenda or backroom deals. As a long-serving councilor in another Kootenay community said, “the more we choose to sneer at politicians, the more good people will be deterred from serving, which is a loss for all of us.” Council set out to consult with the local community over a year ago, and now that we have a full account of the situation, we want to ask the local electorate what direction the municipality should take.
Throughout the last three years, the tone has been so positive, open and collaborative. The new Official Community Plan has created an ambitious work plan for the coming years, and it was driven by what the community wants. One of the principles outlined is valuing decision making that weighs short-term and long-term implications, and development that benefits the community as a whole. This means looking beyond short-term fixes, at the expense of long-term benefits. I plan on being around here for another 50 years, and want to know the decisions being made today, will serve us and our children for decades to come.
When looking at the demographic shifts for the town of Creston some interesting trends are apparent. We are a growing community with lots of new young people and families moving to town (30% increase in young adults from 2006-2016, and 11% increase in children under 9). We are also by and large an affordable community, our housing prices are not as high as in surrounding communities. Census also shows we have one of the lowest percentages of homeowners paying 30% or more on shelter costs (11.7% in Creston, compared to 21.8% in Fernie, 20.7% in Nelson, and 18.9% in Grand Forks). The Rural Development Institute out of Selkirk College projects Creston will have the third highest population growth in the Columbia Basin over the next twenty years (after Castlegar and Fernie).
We are a growing community, and as we invest into municipal and shared services, it benefits everyone living here today, and those who will come in the future. Let’s stop the political game playing with the upcoming referendum and stick to the facts. We know this is a big decision for our community, and this is why voters will have a chance to cast their vote in the upcoming referendum, as they are the ultimate decision-makers. If anyone has questions, there will be two more open houses on November 16th in the Creston Room of the Community Complex, at 2 pm and 6 pm, or check out www.Creston.ca for more information.
Submitted by Town Councillor Jen Comer