(Re: The March 5 Editorial)
Tumbler Ridge can offer many things that industry might find attractive, and weakness isn’t one of them. A desperate community is one industry can take advantage of, and mould into a relationship where benefits of the project aren’t shared appropriately with the community.
Although Tumbler Ridge may not have the skilled workforce of Fort St. John or Dawson Creek required for drawing in a new pellet mill project, this doesn’t mean that it can’t attract other economic development. Tumbler Ridge has similar amenities to these other communities and has natural beauty and recreation opportunities that other communities cannot offer. It is a tight-knit community that has already survived the closure of Quintette and Bullmoose mines in the early 2000s. This makes it clear that Tumbler Ridge is a place people want to live, and obviously they need work to do so. But maybe it’s time to look beyond the next major industrial development and more to grass roots development.
As the “built in Tumbler Ridge plan” states there is benefit in industrial diversification as the fortunes of the community will no longer rise and fall with the price coal. That being said diversification doesn’t need to hinge on bringing in a major industrial project. It could involve the building of new infrastructure, the formation of new community groups or even working with other communities in the region to bring in a variety of smaller businesses. Tumbler Ridge is capable of attracting economic development and it doesn’t need to look weak to do so.