Well, that’s it for 2018 folks, and what a full 365 days it was for the residents of the Bow Valley.
The end of the calendar year is a perfect time to pause, look back and reflect upon how we have changed as a community, what challenges we overcame and what amazing things happened.
Certainly the Olympic Games that just couldn’t get public support from the citizens of Calgary in a plebiscite has to be one of the biggest stories of the year, especially for Canmore residents.
Such opportunity to see major infrastructure projects and affordable housing and at the same time impossible to determine the social costs of another Olympic event held locally.
We saw both sides of the debate over what it would mean for the future of the valley engage in the conversation. Those who have seen the community change so much already, expressed concerns around the unintended consquences of a billion dollars spectacle that are the Olympics. Those who wanted a chance to show the world what clean sport means with a Canadian host city also lobbied locally elected officials to support the bid.
But it was the inability of the provincial and federal governments to come to the table and particiapte with the citizens of Canmore and Calgary in a fiscally meaningful and transparent manner that truly sabotaged any efforts local supports could have engaged in. City of Calgary councillors went from supporting the bid to withdrawing from it in the span of a few months of closed door negotiations with the feds and province.
The topsy turvy developments on this story were daily for a bit, leaving many residents wondering what was going to happen. Ultimately it was the plebiscite results that determined the future, and while Canmore residents didn’t get a chance to vote, they certianly had their voices heard.
Our communites also saw major societal level change occur this year with the legalization of recreational cannabis across Canada in October. Much time and effort was spent on how this change would actually occur. Debate on public consumption of cannabis saw municipal jurisdictions place restrictions on those now able to legally use the drug. Whereas the provincial and national parks left consumption open in the great outdoors and some restrictions on campsites.
Many were left wondering if cannabis is legal, how come for some people there is nowhere they are allowed to use it? Others still await federal regulations for edibles that will take effect in 2019.
With all the debate over cannabis, its legalization came and went without too much fanfare in the community. The retail aspect was even more anti-climatic, with the only store in the valley opening in December in Canmore.
What would the year in the valley be without a moment to stop and reflect upon our relationship with wildlife. Moving into 2019, the stage is set for public debate over human wildlife coexistence.
Canmore and Banff are embarking on multiple projects and efforts to address the issue given a report full of recommendaitons from experts being released this year. Whether it is fences on playgrounds or other grassy fields, a restriction on pet rabbits in Banff, or a full blown ban on fruit-bearing trees – how we live on this landscape as human beings has an effect of wildlife populations.
With another wildlife corridor application bound to come forward in Canmore early 2019, the discussion around where we should and should not be recreating is a hot button ready to be pressed.
If 2018 was any indication, there is plenty of capacity in our valley to deal with whatever comes our way.