Community continuity

Editor, Evan Matthews. / LAURA KEIL

by EVAN MATTHEWS, editor

I had an interesting conversation this week with someone from Dome Creek.

The person is involved in the business community and spends time in all of the valley’s towns and villages. This person brought up an incredibly valid point to me, something I hadn’t thought about, and it may be something the valley could capitalize on.

The Robson Valley has a tendency to be hyper-local. This means people in Valemount focus on Valemount; McBride folks focus on McBride; in even smaller and more remote examples, Blue River, Dunster and Dome Creek are the same way.

Of course, this isn’t an exclusive rule, and we see examples of the adverse all the time. We’re also a part of a bigger community — a regional community.

Are we missing out on opportunities to connect regionally because of a tendency to focus hyper-locally?

Placing emphasis on our immediate communities is in no way a bad thing, to be clear.

But, as far as I know, there isn’t even so much as a “regional community calendar,” with Facebook discussion groups maybe being the best example.

With the Internet being what it is, and providing the level of connectivity it does, is our region as connected as it could be?

Our paper offers a Community Events board. Some times of year are busier than others, and contributing planned community events to the paper is a great way of synchronizing ourselves on a regional level.

The Goat has social media reach and a website, and as the events grow it would be a really interesting idea to start listing a calendar on our website, on Facebook — pages and discussion boards, and in our regional paper.

We work hard to gather events we see each week whether from social media, taking photos of posters and notice boards, because for the most part we don’t receive a ton of community event listings (which are free).

Maybe it’s time to think about rallying together — all communities for one, and one for all — in order to synchronize ourselves even better and create a better sense of regional community identity — Evan Matthews, editor

So, public engagement is a must before the idea gets to that point.

Lets say — hypothetically — the newspaper’s Community Events continues to grow and have additions. At some point, we would need to look at making it a little bit bigger.

If the paper created an interactive calendar on its website, sharing it via Facebook and Twitter, would you as a community member use it? Would you be willing to submit your events either to us via email, or directly into the interactive calendar?

The idea would allow our entire region to plug in, with each contributor having total control of listing their own events and noteworthy dates with the specific details needed to effectively make people aware.

Of course, the idea doesn’t require the paper to facilitate, but it could. It could be a number of other organizations such as the Robson Valley Region Marketing, or Tourism Valemount, or the McBride or Valemount Chamber of Commerce, for examples.

I mean, really, it’s a calendar and message board. It’s a simple and longstanding idea, so I don’t intend to sell it as being completely original or innovative.

But as more economic opportunity and growth is potentially on the horizon for the valley, now could be a good time to be thinking about creating continuity between our communities.

Maybe it’s time to think about rallying together — all communities for one, and one for all — in order to synchronize ourselves even better and create a better sense of regional community identity.

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