District of Vanderhoof - Council Message

August 2011

You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

Joni Mitchell sang these words many years ago; they seem to have more meaning than ever.

This past week an elderly gentleman came to see me. I had not seen him for nearly a decade. He used to live on Victoria Street; this was around the time I was born. When I was playing out on the street as a child, I was always aware that even though my parents may not see me, every adult on Victoria Street was looking out for me, and if I did something that I shouldn't, not only would I hear about it, Mom and Dad would hear about it as well. My friend reminded me of this as I enjoyed hearing his stories, especially one of me at one year of age where I avoided getting into trouble because of the quick thinking of one parent. The community looked after itself.

We have come a long way since then, Vanderhoof has grown and matured. In the past few years in our community, through many hours of volunteer time, a number of new initiatives have made Vanderhoof a better place to live:
- Two years ago we had the Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative come to Council and talk to us about their ideas on reducing the amount of waste that we as residents had been landfilling for years. Shortly after, the community cardboard and paper recycling program started.
- Last fall a group of residents came with their dream of establishing a walking trail through the wetland behind WL McLeod School and connecting it to our trail system. This project is almost at its completion and soon you will see educational signs at the deck and along the trail, and a finished mural on the back of the water treatment plant.
- Council and the Nechako Valley Historical Society have been working together to make sure that our Museum site on Hwy 16 is as modern and attractive as possible. The Vanderhoof Community Museum continues to grow and expand with new exhibits, the historic park and nature trail behind the museum site.
- Over the last three years the Rip'n the North group of volunteers have worked hard to establish an activity for young people in our community. The result is a state of the art BMX bike park.

Unfortunately, each of these community initiatives has experienced being vandalized in recent months. The police do a good job, they care, but we need to do our part. When we see motor bikes on our walking trails or at the BMX park or someone breaking into the Caboose at the museum, or someone starting a fire in the recycling bins we need to take the time to report it. I find the process of reporting these things as frustrating as anyone but unless we all do our part we will see the undoing of a lot of hard work.

I believe we have made it through this last recession in better fashion than any other community in Northern BC; we did it because we worked together. As a community we need to work together to hold on to things that we value. Let's not wait until it's gone to realize how important something is to us. Do as my wise friend reminded me of the other day—look out for your community.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen