A previous article on this website highlights the significant role commercial fishing played in our history. Rivers brought fur traders to this high point on the continental divide. Our lakes fed families and eventually employed hundreds, including spin-off industries. Lac La Biche’s whitefish caviar is rumoured to have been enjoyed by royalty. Sail boating, sport-fishing, boating, camping, and holiday cabins all followed. While it seems that a boat is a very apt metaphor for our region historically, a boat -one that is in rough water is an appropriate symbol for our current state of affairs. Let me explain.
We live in a region that leaves most visitors envious, having some 150 lakes and 70% of the class A beaches in Alberta. Unfortunately, we have not developed the potential of these attractions to their fullest. We must capitalize on this better.
We are all feeling the double effects of a downturn in the price of oil and Covid-19.
It sometimes feels like significant parts of our livelihood have become dirty words.How dare we make money from our natural resources? I’ll say no more.
Threats to dissolve the Alberta oil and gas economy by our federal government.
Our region has been tossed and battered around. ALL THIS LEAVES US SEASICK! Do we deserve sympathy and justice? Yes. Will we get it? I can’t say, but I do know one thing: WE MUST STICK TOGETHER OR SINK. I don’t believe anyone outside our area has our interests at heart. If we don’t take action, things will continue to be bad.
If we are to do a better job of marketing our region and resources provincially, nationally, and around the world, we need to rise up from our complacency and GET IN THE SAME BOAT. We need to start ROWING IN THE SAME DIRECTION. Let’s make some waves and steer our destiny. We are all dissatisfied with where we find ourselves. While some gains are being made, it truly appears that we are paddling a hundred boats in opposite directions and all going in circles.
We have so many people and groups all working independently and not working together. We are missing a huge opportunity to talk to each other, align our interests, and cooperate for the betterment of our future. Let’s pool our resources and work together. It all starts with a conversation. Who will commit to a meeting where we find out how strong we can be?
If you are interested “rowing together” to help make a difference, send your name and contact information via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gene Wesley is the General Manager of Community Futures Lac La Biche.