Shaping our future

Let us for a moment consider the state of the local economy.

It, according to various estimates, has lost several hundred jobs during the last two year as agriculture continues its historic decline.

Attempts to revitalize the downtown core through the much hyped Wharton Street development face uncertain prospects to be more than charitable.

The local population — whose various skills represent the very source of economic growth — is aging and shrinking.

Those who remain behind are increasingly turning to charity services such as the food bank for survival.

These conditions represent the four corners of the metaphorical box that threatens to trap Summerland.

Ironies of ironies. Some believe, foolishly we might add, that the community can break these chains by attracting a prison for low-level criminals.

Yes, the economic climate of the past 21/2 years has played its part.

But let us be honest. Many if not most of our current economic woe have been in the making for years.

The Great Recession merely made these structural problems appear more painful. So let us stop blaming the current economic climate albeit terrible for everything that ails the local economy. It was sick before 2008.

Yet not all appears lost. Our local elite has finally begun to debate ways out to this misery in the glaring spotlight of the public.

Some of the ideas have sounded reasonable and practical, others, well, naive and ill-informed.

At least, we are talking and that fact represents a step forward. Perhaps something good will come out of the up-coming prisons consultations after all.

The community will get to have a conversation about how it wants to shape the future.