Problems and Solutions in the Fort

It’s cold out there (or was): colder than Stephen Harper’s smile at an environmental conference photo-op.

Jonas Gagnon


It’s cold out there (or was): colder than Stephen Harper’s smile at an environmental conference photo-op.

It’s been having it’s way in the community and has had me reporting from home.

There are a few things you don’t think of when you move temporarily, and extreme winter temperatures seem to be one of those things. With a twelve year old battery and a block heater that lost it’s brittle plug on a cold morning here, my truck was even less prepared than I was for the cold. Living out of town has its charms, but trying to get a vehicle that won’t run, fixed in a community you’re not familiar with, is not one of those charms. Thankfully you have some wonderful people here and my truck is back in working condition thanks to the help of some of those wonderful people.

The paper this week seems to have a theme: safety. There’s a lot going on these days to increase the safety of pedestrians walking along Highway 27, both in the Fort and on the Nak’azdli reserve. Police are cracking down on speeders, there’s committees working away at finding solutions, even the kids are getting in on it with the Be Seen, Be safe campaign. It’s nice to see a community as concerned with the safety of it’s residents as it is with the concerns of businesses and industry. Too often you see towns stagnating for lack of interest in the downtowns and the people that work and shop there. All the effort of the community makes me think the downtown of Fort St. James will continue to thrive.

It’s an exciting time to be here in the Fort for a reporter. There’s more attention on what’s going on up here than I can remember. Everybody’s talking about the Enbridge pipeline, and I get to be here in the middle of it, reporting as the whole thing crumbles. That is if you are an optimistic environmentalist or a pessimistic industrialist. The world is getting antagonistic toward oil these days, and a little bit more wary of the way we change our environment, and who we allow to take control of our environment. It’s a conversation all of western culture is having; the thing is it looks more like a bang up argument, and their having it in our back yard. Interesting? Yes. Comfortable? Not always.

Of course attached to that is the role the federal government has been taking in this process. If you haven’t seen Rick Mercer’s rant about Stephen Harper’s comments you should probably check it out. In fact I’ll put a link up on our Facebook. There are two sides to this conversation we’re all having and both sides need a say, which means that the government probably shouldn’t try to quash the rights of one side or another. Mercer says it better than me though so I’ll leave it to him.

Another exciting  event in the Fort, and remember I said it was exciting, not fun, happy times, was the road block, or ‘Information Gateway’ as they’re now calling it. It had me on my toes for a couple weeks now, and has had some interesting effects in the community. Of course it was fun for no one. There have been some long days for politicians and police these last few weeks.

All this action has had me running around like a dazed rabbit for the last couple of weeks.

But as I write this we’re moving into yet another new year, the lunar new year, commonly referred to as the Chinese New Year. It’s time to start fresh, clean up the house, and put my papers in order cause this next lunar year will be my year. Maybe I’ll go out for Chinese tonight, which gives me a huge range of options in this town. I would never have guessed that Fort St. James would have so many Chinese restaurants.

On another note groups seem to have come up with an interesting way of avoiding the press, by all holding meetings on the exact same day. The GUF AGM, the Nak’azdli CCP and now the Mount Milligan Community Meeting all overlap on Thursday the 26th. Perhaps I could get a doctor here to do a special cut-me-into-3 surgery for the day. It’s a risky procedure, but I got work to do.




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