AT RANDOM: The year that was

My turkey haze hasn’t even begun as I write this, and the brain is only slightly stunned...

My turkey haze hasn’t even begun as I write this, and the brain is only slightly stunned from the Christmas parties of this past weekend… So as I rejoice the season, and the sweet powder that awaits on the hill, it’s also time to reflect on the year that was.

From the tragedies of the Boston Marathon bombings to the havoc of Mother Nature’s wrath on our little planet still being felt in the Philippines, to the human- caused conflicts in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, to the death of South African statesman Nelson Mandela, it was a year of sadness, but there was also hope.

As the media and late-night talk show hosts feasted on Miley Cyrus’ twerk, or is that tongue, and the disaster that is still unfolding in Toronto (ice storms and Ford Nation combined), we in the North Okanagan managed to weather a few storms.

Well, at least most of us did.

The Vernon Public Art Gallery board and staff would beg to differ. They are still homeless from the water main break on 31st Avenue that flooded the gallery two weeks ago.

But alas, if anything good can come out of such as mess, it’s now obvious that the gallery really needs a new space. Despite the fact that the water main broke outside the building, the gallery itself, located under the city parkade, has suffered from leaks before as well as a heating meltdown during the recent cold snap.

It’s an extra slap in the face that shows a new building is needed to keep the gallery’s permanent art collection, exhibitions, and other precious resources warm, safe and dry.

And that goes for the museum, too.

Earlier this year, we saw a referendum on whether to build a new athletic track and field at Okanagan College, and by a slim margin, we saw it go through. Understandable is the fear that residents have, me included, on their taxes rising. But let’s be honest, our taxes will rise whether we have a new track, gallery, museum, or not. So we might as well make our city more attractive to tourists and residents while we are at it, right?

Smaller communities than ours, with smaller tax bases, have nice, new sport and cultural facilities, and if you visit these towns — Courtenay on Vancouver Island is one example— they seem to be doing just fine. Businesses are open. People are visiting. Locals seem happy.

OK, my Rick Mercer rant is over. Breathe. Back to the year that was…

We got a new premier, our first woman, whose legacy is still to be determined. However, I am intrigued by Christy Clark’s latest announcement in support for “common-sense” and “family-friendly” liquor law changes.

It’s possible in the future that parents will be able to bring their kids into B.C. pubs during happy hour. It’s something I have seen in Australia, where most pubs have a “family room” separate from the bar. It’s an interesting idea, where you can enjoy a drink and watch the game, while your kids sit around, bored, watching you enjoy yourself.

But when I think about it, don’t we go to the pub to escape our kids? We all need the occasional night off, after all. And as the RCMP have been noticing as of late, some of us still haven’t got the message that if you drink, you should take a taxi home.

Anyway, just my two cents worth.

The year that was is almost over now, so it’s time to look ahead as we try to make our little patch a better place to live, surrounding ourselves with the people we love, and hoping the rest of humanity follows suit.

Happy New Year!


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