Whenever I tell my friends from out of town that I am “busy at work,” they almost always ask me why I am so busy since I work in a small town.
As I was preparing our year-in-review stories this year, I couldn’t help but think that, for a town of less than 3000 people, we sure do have a lot going on.
This year was particularly eventful. In fact, as I was reading our past stories, I had to double check the dates because it felt like they had been written a long time ago.
By the beginning of the year, the proposed new college was making the headlines. In January, Wet’suwet’en Chief Vivian Tom announced she had rescinded her support for the proposed campus of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT).
Later that month, Burns Lake Band Chief Dan George also dropped his support for the proposed campus, choosing to support the College of New Caledonia instead. And Burns Lake council, who had supported the proposed NVIT campus in the past, refrained from taking sides on the issue.
This year was also a time of important improvements and upgrades. In February, the village announced the revitalization of Radley Beach and the municipal campground. We all saw the great results of that in the summer, with the campground being often full while many locals and visitors enjoyed our sandy beach.
This was also the year that Burns Lake replaced its water tower. This was a major project for the village, and thanks to an unexpected surplus, the village was able to invest in additional infrastructure projects.
There sure was a lot of talk about recreation in 2017. In March, Burns Lake council decided to conduct an organizational review of the recreation department. This review was followed by a lot of controversy.
At first, community members were concerned about the fact that council had only released a summary of the report. The full report, which says that relations between recreation staff and elected officials have deteriorated over the years, was eventually released after Lakes District News filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
Burns Lake also received some great news this year with regard to new physicians. With the new addition, a total of four doctors are now working out of the hospital’s primary care clinic, bringing the total number of doctors in Burns Lake to nine (7.25 full-time equivalency).
In addition, 2017 was the year that premier John Horgan confirmed he and his senior government officials would collaborate with northwest B.C. leaders on a resource benefits sharing agreement.
And with the creation of an economic diversification committee, which was created to find ways to reduce the impacts of declining timber supply, I feel that 2018 could be a defining year for Burns Lake.