In the first week of February I made my big move to Hope.
Previously, I had investigated opportunities across Canada. Before moving I naturally conducted analyses about each place in which I was interested. These analyses included things like quality of life, economic outlook, geography, location relative to other attractions and services, and the community as a whole.
Despite the other opportunities, the choice of Hope was clear.
During my short time here I have heard many local residents despair the recent economic downturn.
They all say jobs are the first priority.
They say Hope is losing its young people and families.
Some even deride Hope as a town of “newly weds and nearly deads.”
Well, it may seem like that now, but I believe it can only improve.
Many communities across Canada suffer from the same symptoms of economic downturn: closing local businesses and families moving away.The last place I lived (a city of some 45,000) suffers from many of the same issues.
Yet, despite the current difficulties, where else can you live everyday in a mild mountainous climate with the majesty of some of the best wilderness Canada has to offer?
Where else can you live only an hour and a half from a beautiful sea coast?
Where else can you live where so many others travel to enjoy our surroundings?
Where else, despite the recent economic hardships, are people still so friendly and willing to help?
Unlike some other communities, the potential for economic improvement in Hope is significant. It sits astride a major transportation and communications hub. It is closely located to one of the fastest growing areas of the country.
I predict sooner rather than later the natural migration of people moving east up the Fraser Valley will increase our population. Our property values remain affordable and commutes to other communities short. But should we really wait?
What struck me most was the earnestness of many Hope residents to not sit back and wait for what will happen – eventually. But rather take charge, promote Hope and work with like minded people to encourage sustainable local economic growth.
I see them every day: members of the Chamber of Commerce, volunteers at Advantage Hope, service clubs, outreach agencies, and individuals.
All are making a difference by volunteering their time and energy to promote this community.
Even as a newly arrived individual, I find it easy to commit to living and working for the good of Hope. I feel confident that I join as fine a group of citizens as I have ever known in moving this community forward toward an even brighter future.
Hope, do not despair!
Chief administrative officer,
District of Hope