We live on an island but we need the city

By Tom Read

This slightly modified BC Ferries route map of our greater region shows Texada Island (partially circled in red) in relation to its urban neighbours. Rather than try to ignore these population centres, could we consciously interact with them for mutual benefit?

This weekend we begin a three-day journey, leaving our snug home on Texada Island to visit the city of Vancouver by way of BC Ferries and Vancouver Island. This isn’t a holiday vacation; it’s mainly about me having a root canal operation that requires a big city specialist. It occurred to me, after scheduling this appointment, that I have not seen Vancouver in a year and a half, which I consider one measure of my contentedness with living on Texada.

My dental appointment in the city is just one example of the reality that our seemingly remote home is merely part of a greater urban region. Most of my friends and neighbours on Texada travel to Vancouver, the “Big Island” or beyond far more frequently than I, yet are no less content with life on our own island. Some needs simply cannot be met here in paradise, so we go where we must.

City and rural interdependence has a long history in British Columbia and elsewhere around the world, thus my observation above is nothing new. As we enter a new year and decade it’s also no secret that major economic, political and environmental uncertainties abound, tempering our New Year celebrations with a bit of wariness. And that is what feels “new” to me — a growing awareness that we rural people should take nothing for granted, including, perhaps, affordable access to first-class medical and dental specialists in a relatively close big city.

I’m all for strengthening local self-reliance in our rural communities, but I wonder if we should simultaneously focus more carefully on our relationship with urban neighbours. Rural and city people might both lead healthier, happier lives by consciously developing mutual support networks for coping with the potentially unpleasant uncertainties ahead. Now there’s some good food for thought, and a future post. In the meantime, “Happy New Year!”


Post facto

January 2010
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