I have great respect for the mayor and town council of Oliver, but I fear they are making a grave mistake by selling Centennial Park to developers who probably care little for a town’s history and seek only profit.
Centennial Park trees have been growing since 1957, that is at least 60 years. The birds use the trees and the park is full of people, all enjoying the benefits of as natural a setting as possible.
Town council and mayor want to kill that ambience in favour of short-term gain. Throw out the campers, rip up the trees, destroy feeding and breeding grounds of the birds and install a hotel instead. And that is called progress?
On September 7 of 1967, my father Wally Smith, wrote in his column called the Orchard Run and published in the Oliver Chronicle, a piece about “serving the cult of progress.”
I quote, “ Chambers of Commerce (known formerly under the less pretentious term of Boards of Trade) are dedicated to serve this cult of progress. This means the acquisition for the community, of more people, more enterprise, more industry, and more wealth in the form of bank clearings and similar figures that add up to “prosperity.”
The local Chamber of Commerce seems to be no exception to this general pattern. It has expended considerable effort in an attempt to attract more industry in the belief that more industry is good for the district. Whether it is good or otherwise depends upon one’s standard of values.
I am opposed to bringing new industry into the district. I do not believe we should remain static, for we must adapt to the changing times, but to deliberately go out and drag industry in by the scruff of the neck (accompanied by all its ills and disadvantages) is to hasten the destruction of certain natural values many of us hold in high esteem.
Our time would be better spent in keeping out industry, and any movement dedicated to that end will receive my moral support
Just consider what disturbing changes industry brings to a district. More industry means more money and more people, but the congregation of more people within a given area does not necessarily mean a greater degree of affluence and happiness for everybody. If that were so the people in large industrial cities would be the happiest and wealthiest. I don’t believe it necessary that I submit any proof to the contrary. End of quote.
Wally’s concern was that a growing population would put a severe strain on the Valley and its resources. That is still the case today.
I have tried to discover the history of Centennial Park to no avail other than it was to celebrate the province’s anniversary. I want to know why the powers of the day felt it was important enough to set aside the land.
I have come upon information that the Nk’Mip golf course has plans to build a hotel; no date has been set to break ground that I am aware of. Why would the Town of Oliver want to compete with the First Nations for hotel business?
I call upon the Town council and the mayor do the right thing and set aside the parcel of land that is called Centennial Park, in perpetuity.
Laird Smith, Oliver