Grace Kennedy doing what it takes to get the perfect shot of the 38th annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach in Boundary Bay Regional Park on Jan. 1, 2018. (Marlene Graham photo)

COLUMN: No good way to say goodbye

Reporter Grace Kennedy bids North Delta a fond farewell after two years at the North Delta Reporter

I’ve never felt much like Dolly Parton — my hair is limp and hairspray free, my face is lacking in added collagen and I certainly don’t have my own theme park. But today, as I type these words on my computer with the Reporter‘s press deadline inching near, I feel a little more like Dolly.

“I know I’ll miss you, and I’ll know I cry … I know I’ll have moments when I’ll want to die. But I know no good way of saying good-bye.”

Dolly’s voice warbles out the lyrics of her 1995 tune “No Good Way of Saying Goodbye” through my headphones, and I feel what she sings. This final paper is to painful, the moment too real — saying goodbye to North Delta, but loving it still.

Of course, some elements of her song don’t match up entirely. The relationship in Dolly’s song had reached its end through trial and struggle, and there was no use trying anymore. That is certainly not the case for my relationship with North Delta.

How could it be? In my two years at the North Delta Reporter, I’ve been given the opportunity to share the stories of so many passionate and inspiring individuals.

There’s Rhiannon Bennett, former Delta school trustee who is a stalwart activist for Delta’s Indigenous communities. There’s Deborah Jones, the ubiquitous caretaker of Cougar Creek who is always ready to share her love of streams and salmon. There’s Gillian McLeod, Delta’s new social planner who has an infectious enthusiasm for fixing social issues in the city.

And there are so many more community members who make every day at the North Delta Reporter a joy: teachers, students, model train enthusiasts, sport activists and artists.

Of course, being a journalist means I’ve covered the dark side of the community as well.

My first day on the job I had to call the DPD’s then-public affairs coordinator Sharlene Brooks to write a story about a young man who was stabbed on 92nd Avenue near 117th Street. That was a phone call fraught with nervousness, as I had never interviewed an officer for a crime story before. Since then, I have sadly become all too comfortable asking questions of that sort.

I’ve also seen the bad in residents as well: the racism bubbling underneath concerns regarding Delta’s zoning bylaw, the cruelty of online commenters towards people they will never know.

It can be easy to get discouraged by the these things: the bad news, the bitter residents, the source who inevitably asks whether or not “print is dead.” But, thanks to the people I’ve met in North Delta, it’s easy to find hope.

So many of you are out in the community, working each day to make sure it becomes a better place. We want to make sure North Deltans hear about that, and many of you have told us that you do.

Some of you say you appreciate having local news at your doorstep and you are grateful for the hard work we put in day after day. For those words, thank you.

As a journalist, nothing makes the job more worthwhile than knowing it makes a difference to people in the community. It makes us want to work harder, to showcase the good and ferret out the bad.

Thank you all for making news in North Delta worth covering. I hope you all will continue to share the best of yourselves with the community and the paper.

Grace Kennedy is now the editor of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer.


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