I am responding to Rob Murphy’s invitation to send in ideas on how to make Summerland a “vibrant and energetic city.”
While I do have an idea I’d like to share, it may not fit with Rob’s vision.
As unpopular as it may be, I love our sleepy little, laid back, artsy, agricultural community full of retirees.
I have been reading with interest the many letters suggesting that our town is doomed because businesses are closing, there is no growth and there are way too many old people living here.
The cry is always, “how can we change Summerland?”
I am no economist and certainly not business minded (my husband and I operating Bush Art Gardens for 15 years, a hobby that nearly paid for itself where people could pay on the honour system), but I am a believer in a few basic universal laws that I would like to mention.
Energy follows thought, thought creates reality and what you resist persists.
Based on these laws I have to wonder what would happen if we accepted Summerland for what it actually is and tried to expand on that instead of trying to “make it” into something it isn’t?
What if we focused on all the positive things our town has to offer instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the place?
Perhaps if our thoughts about Summerland changed so would its energy.
I was born and raised in Summerland. It has always been an agricultural community and a place where people dream of retiring to.
Young people raised here can’t wait to leave, but many of us also couldn’t wait to return home.
Visitors to our community think we live in heaven. They are attracted by the surrounding beauty, the orchards and vineyards and the friendliness of our citizens.
We seem to measure our success as a community by store-fronts and businesses. Perhaps we need to ask then, what businesses do well?
Food, drug, hardware, garden, flower, antique and used good shops and stores seem to be doing okay, judging by the amount of time they have remained.
Businesses that offer services such as hair, massage, physiotherapy, housecleaning, yard maintenance seem successful.
Serving and caring for seniors offer good paying jobs.
Seniors are often the ones with disposable income, but they don’t want more stuff.
They need services and are often the ones willing to pay for an experience, a trip or a meal out.
They have time to pursue arts and entertainment.
They build their dream homes and retire here and in turn their families come here to visit them.
Society in general is also changing. The ideas of sharing and simplifying are catching on as is the idea of having less material things. This is a good thing.
My Pollyanna viewpoint may not offer any economic solutions but I do think we could focus more on the good that Summerland does offer, accept what the town actually is and who actually lives here and then grow upon that, rather than seeing only the “problem” and trying to make things different and to force change.