The Christmas season has offered, I hope, a bit of respite from the day-to-day stress. Certainly, it is a time of reflection and goal setting – a time for renewal. I certainly enjoyed my family time and considered the many blessings we have in the Okanagan. I am sure that people, for the most part, love where they live and wish to maintain their communities and homes clean and beautiful. Municipalities all over the world participate to a competition called ‘Communities in Bloom’, which is held on an annual basis. Lake Country is not a participant, but staff is going to propose Council to enter the race, so to speak. There are various levels of participation and a number of categories for which the community is judged. To participate means a lot of community volunteer work.
I have seen what a ‘Communities in Bloom’ community effort may look like in places like Langley and Williams Lake. The roads are clean, the businesses are tidy, the trails are cared for and there is a neatness that is special. But most of all, there is a sense of pride in the community. If you drive through Williams Lake, especially during the summertime, you can see it is not the dusty frontier community that it was some years ago, but a beautified city with flowers, resplendent with stunning beauty. Some say it’s the Cariboo way. The fact is that Williams Lake won a national award for that. Obviously is not about the award but about the transformation and the participation of its residents to that transformation.
I hope Lake Country can step up to the plate and show that it is indeed the jewel of the Okanagan: in fact the most brilliant one. I hope we can show our community pride to the Communities in Bloom judges, sooner rather than later. However, we do not have to wait until then to create that pride. We should start now if we are not doing so already. Look around and see if you can help.
I know a place where we can start. The other day I met a resident from Oyama who was astonished at the amount of garbage that is thrown on the roads of Lake Country these days. It is mainly disposable coffee cups and empty cigarette packs. The litter is unusually high and takes time and effort to clean. I was raised by my parents to respect the environment where I live. I would have never fathomed, in my childhood, to throw away something on the street without being reprimanded by my father or mother. I am teaching my kids the same thing. I want to believe that it is the same for everybody else in Lake Country. Maybe it is the tourists but this is happening now as well, when the tourist season is slow, almost to no activity.
Then, think before you throw and teach those around you to respect what we have. If you see someone in the act of littering, tell him or her to stop and enjoy, rather, the surroundings. It will make us even more proud of where we live.