Who wants to live in a ‘cookie-cut’ town?

Amalgamation is the wrong idea for distinct communities of Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs

In response to the recent Observer community poll re: amalgamation of Kent/Agassiz & Harrison, and with municipal election buzz in the air, I wanted to express my opinion as a person who splits much of my time between residing & working in both. Amalgamation is a bad idea and would seem ‘forced’ (in namesake only) upon the citizenry. Although the economies, peoples, history and geography are obviously intertwined – we all know that Harrison and Kent are both distinct and unique in and of themselves. Agassiz is a town, and Harrison’s a Village. It’s as simple as that.

Personally, having lived in many different areas (both small-town and large-municipality Ontario, New Westminster, Burnaby, East Van, downtown, North Van, and now the upper Fraser Valley) – believe me folks: what you/we currently have here in this little nook of B.C. is priceless. It should be protected from ‘the Wave’ of corporate-sponsored ‘progress’, homogenous/bland, cookie-cutter condos and suburban strip-mall/big-box-store living that is coming. Who wants to (eventually) live in unimaginative concrete wastelands like Surrey or Richmond anyhow? (In reply to Jim Killer’s desire to be swallowed by our loud, larger neighbour just over the bridge, when it comes to actual communities, remember,  bigger ain’t necessarily better. In reply to Ruth Altendorf’s opinion – amalgamation does not ‘have to happen’ at all).

Folks, what we have in both Agassiz & Harrison represents the very last, non-ruined, picturesque ‘small towns’ left in the entire Lower Mainland region. Save for maybe Hope, Gibsons and Bowen Island, name me one other town with character that remains? Whether you chose to raise a family here, operate a small business or retire here, one cannot put a cultural nor societal price on a place whose individual town-cores don’t possess many buildings taller than three storeys, where everyone has a view, and where everyone actually knows their neighbour. What a concept! Seriously. People should educate themselves about the issues, and cast their voice & ballot very carefully over the next few elections because – once it’s altered, it’s done, and you can never get it back. And everyday normal folk like you and I could witness what is special about where we chose to live slip away with every passing year.

Wherever you happen to live, on Nov.19 – please get out and VOTE.

Scott Hurst