By Michael Piasetzki
It’s all over but the crying for Robson Valley residents who have been following a fun contest currently taking place within the ranks of Canada’s public radio broadcaster, the CBC.
That’s because Valemount suffered the narrowest of defeats last Friday to Bella Coola in the contest, which aims to determine the best small town in British Columbia, whether it be Nelson, Smithers, Tofino, or anywhere else in the province.
In order to organize and develop the contest, the CBC went through every municipality, unincorporated area, first nations community, and island with between 500 and 12,000 people in B.C. It then separated them into four regions of the province, including Vancouver Island, the North, the Interior, and Southwest B.C. The North was further broken down into Northwest B.C. and Northeast/Cariboo/Central north, which included McBride and Valemount.
Each week, until the last Friday in April, two towns will face off with the winner moving on and the loser suffering elimination. The last two towns left from each bracket will meet in the final, with the winner being declared the best small town in B.C. Besides gaining bragging rights, there will be some prizes given to the victorious town or village.
The scoring is tabulated through the democratic process of casting an online ballot for your favorite town on the CBC website.
In its first contest which took place on March 18, Valemount and McBride were in competition. Valemount emerged victorious, with 71.28 per cent of the vote.
However, that victory over McBride turned out to be short-lived for Valemount. It was ousted from the contest on Friday, losing to Bella Coola in a painfully close affair. Bella Coola received 50.81 percent of the vote compared to 49.19 percent for Valemount to seal the win.
On the heels of its victory, Bella Coola now moves on to face Bella Bella.
When asked his overall impression of the contest, Valemount mayor Owen Torgerson said the CBC is really just trying to keep it fun.
“It allows local government representatives to reach out to our colleagues in friendly competition,” he added. “It provides a friendly off-the-cuff kind of competition and really highlights each town that is in the contest. Of course, it’s for town pride as well. You can’t dismiss that.”
Torgerson also agreed the victory over McBride helped lessen the sting of last week’s painful loss to Bella Coola.
“You know, the last time we had a contest of this nature against McBride was through a snowmobiling contest,” he said. “McBride won that. So we were happy to turn the table against them this time.”
Torgerson said last week’s defeat was a tough one to take, but in the end, it came down to a battle between two recreational meccas, with Bella Coola winning by a nose.
“Hiking and snowmobiling vs some of the best fishing out there,” he added.
If you’d like to continue following the contest to see who eventually emerges as B.C.’s best small town go to https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/community/best-small-town-1.6339961 or google CBC best small town contest and follow the links.