By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor

For nearly five years I’ve been responsible for the daily meals of my daughter. It’s a nerve-wracking experience wondering if my child is getting the nutrition she needs and making sure my cupboards and fridge are stocked with enough options to please both me and her.

Now imagine being responsible for the daily food needs of an entire community, with the bulk of the fresh foods coming from seven hours away.

Over the last few weeks, Valemount has experienced the fallout of a perfect storm of problems at the IGA, leading to coolers malfunctioning, food expiring and the store being briefly closed for repairs. And unfortunately, most people’s take-away is that this store cannot be relied upon, cannot be trusted, and has always disappointed them.

You can imagine a kid rebelling against their parents this way and shortly realizing their mistake.

It may be fine for some people to take a 4-6-hour return trip to the city to grab canned tomatoes and fresh celery, but for hundreds of residents, that is either impossible or ridiculous.

“But I’ve come home with rancid meat!” some say.

That’s bad and should be fixed. Frankly, it’s too bad it’s taken this long for proper feedback to get through about foods not being fresh. Fingers crossed it’s a refrigeration issue that will be fixed with the new compressor and HVAC.

But worse than an unreliable grocery store is no grocery store at all. And before I get any further, I want to give a massive shout-out, thank you and deep bow to the staff who have stayed on despite the heat, uncertainties, shifting management and public moaning. Seriously. You are it. I hope you get a raise.

Let’s face it folks, the grocery store may not be perfect, but how many people move into town from Tete Jaune (a 20 min drive) because of it? Convenience is worth far more than perfection.

In my view, this tumultuous time is an opportunity to improve the store by sharing our needs and giving constructive feedback, not to post about past grievances and how we’ll never shop there again.

This is our grocery store. And we owe the people who work there our respect. But more than that, if we work together in a non-hostile way, we might actually get the improvements we’re looking for.