by Andru McCracken
When Amanda Kruse and her partner found out she was pregnant they knew it was time to leave Grande Prairie.
“There was no question about it that we were going to raise our child in a small town,” said Kruse. Her fiance, Joey Rich, grew up in McBride and she grew up in Tumbler Ridge; they tried Tumbler Ridge for a bit, but made the decision to move to McBride. It was about the potential of the community.
“Tumbler is on a pretty good track,” she said. “But we see more opportunity here.”
Now Amanda is preaching the word of the benefit of moving to the Robson Valley – as a job. She’s the new marketing coordinator for the Robson Valley Region.
“The program is promoting opportunities to live, work and invest in the Robson Valley Region,” she said. “We’re trying to inspire people to live the type of lifestyle offered here.”
“We have a lot of visitors, we’re asking people why not just move here? Why not make your home the place where you are coming to do all your recreation activities?”
Being from Tumbler, Kruse flatly rejects the notion that McBride or Valemount is in the middle of nowhere.
“There is a major highway through here. I’m from a town that you have to [specifically] drive to,” she said.
Kruse recognizes the valley isn’t for everyone, it’s not a tour bus kind of tourism destination.
“For young families this is a cool place to live and it has affordable real estate,” she said.
“It’s suits a certain type of people.”
Kruse sees, however, there is a lot of work to do. She worked a summer at Mount Robson and noticed that while a huge volume of people visited the provincial park, they didn’t know much about the region.
“They are visiting our gemstone, and aren’t even visiting our communities,” she said.
Kruse said snowmobiling a huge interest for her and her husband. She enjoys hiking and snowshoeing and is involved in McBride’s curling club.
“People are quick to look at the things we don’t have,” she said. “We may not have five-star hotels but we have all these beautiful little cabins.”
She said the differences in culture and recreational opportunities between McBride and Valemount help the communities fill each other’s gaps and appeal to a broader audience.
Kruse said she is meeting many new families, some who grew up here and others who just fell in love with the place.
For her part, Kruse hopes to assist people interested in moving or investing here.
“I’m trying to bridge those gaps,” she said.