The audience for the all candidates meeting in Harrison Hot Springs Tuesday night wasn’t just made up of Village voters.
Most of the candidates for the District of Kent council were on hand, too. And even though they can’t cast a ballot, all of those candidates are paying close attention to the campaign playing out next door.They’ve got reason to be interested; those elected will be working very closely with Harrison council over the next three years.
Rather than being true neighbouring communities, Harrison sits smack in the middle of the District of Kent.
And when it comes down to it, one isn’t really whole without the other.
The Village is a small piece of the pie, with the delicious crust lining the beachfront, and its tip pointing down toward Golf Road. The District is a much larger region, consisting of areas as diverse as Agassiz, Harrison Mills and even Rockwell Drive and the breakwater you can see standing in Harrison’s lagoon.
Yes, they are two, separate, distinct governments, each with its own unique concerns.
But should they be? Is amalgamation a possibility? That’s what we asked last week, and a healthy number of readers answered online, and through phone calls, personal visits and letters to the editor.
Certainly the District of Kent is capable of handling diverse needs of the many neighbourhoods it encompasses. They have a recreation services department that works endlessly to find ways to keep the residents healthy, and the youth occupied. They have a handful of doctors, chiropractors, a health clinic, a pharmacy, care homes, a well-used pavilion, a library, recreation centre and ample family parks. What more does a community need?
For starters, a beach is nice. Harrison’s beaches in particular are a rare gem. So are hotels that draw in tourists, business conventions, worldwide media attention and other perks. Accommodation is an important piece of the recipe, especially when your focus is drawing in tourism dollars.
And while the Village, local businesses and Tourism Harrison are focused on doing just that, the average resident seems to want to make sure none of the those visitors like the Village enough to consider moving there permanently.
The entire community is at odds with what types of houses should be built, and where. Everyone seems to be looking for the magic number of homes, trying to save each majestic corner from development. And by all rights, they should be protective. The District of Kent is gorgeous, but Harrison is easily the prettiest piece of a bigger pie, the icing on the cake.
It just seems the entire dish would be a more attractive item to serve up to guests, and the inevitable addition of new homeowners, who will undoubtedly want, and use, at least a few of the services that Kent offers.