Recent events have brought to light the level of crisis in our community today. It has been alleged that death threats were leveled at a large number of community members simply for speaking their beliefs. All of this on top of the recent losses of young lives has created more division and strife in our beautiful Valley.
The supposed “bear-killing culture” has been attacked in various public forums as a reason as to why tourists will refuse to travel to our Valley. Ironically, perhaps we now have more to worry about from our own neighbours and community members than the wild animals that frequent our Valley. Human safety has become an issue now more than ever.
The fact is our Valley has been forced to adhere to a strict new way of living. All of this so certain individuals can run their businesses and manage Valley resources for their benefit. I can’t help but feel this is about personal gain and profit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about making better choices for our community, but at what cost?
Economic development and management of local resources should come from a place where the benefits are equally enjoyed by the majority of community members. Certain people have made it extremely difficult to even have a conversation pertaining to hunting or development. They have infiltrated local groups, disrupted progress, and never seem to want to work as part of a team effort. It doesn’t matter how the argument goes: we are labeled as trophy hunters and destroyers.
I was born in this town and I love the people here, but I honestly feel I don’t know my hometown anymore. The economy here is suffering; the youth are suffering with it. Opportunities are few and far between. It’s time for a realistic conversation about what we want our community to look like and how we want to manage our resources.
If we want to move forward, there is no room for victimization, harassment or bullying on any side. The nasty, mean-spirited element that has dominated these discussions is hurting our already devastated community.
It has become clear to me there is need for compromise when it comes to community values whether they pertain to hunting or development. There is no room for the “my way or the highway” approach. This is not the thin edge of the wedge but a battering ram pointed right at the heart of our community.
Ryan ParrBella Coola