Big picture thinking needed for area’s future

Would a shared council for Terrace, B.C. and Thornhill be a more efficient way to administer the common interests of both communities?

Ramses II was considered one of the greatest Egyptian kings in that country’s long history. His temples and statues spread all along the Nile and he led his people through a series of military and strategic conquests that made Egypt a world power.

Across a somewhat smaller river from us in Thornhill, a Ramses with a slightly different spelling seems to be attempting somewhat less magnificent feats beginning with some highway location signs.

First, let me clarify something, I have owned a home and lived in Thornhill for 15 years, my kids went to school there and I have a great many friends that live there. Long gone are the times where regional district residents paid nothing in taxation and an ersatz wrecking yard ruined many a street. Thornhill is a proud community with a number of nice neighbourhoods and amenities.

The latest debacle over moving the “Welcome to Terrace” sign is a tempest in a jurisdictional teapot and one that reflects poorly on the entire area. While other communities band together to speak with a larger, more common voice, we seem to be mired in division and confrontation. These acts of balkanization make us look petty and small when approaching senior governments looking for acknowledgement and funding. The overwhelmingly negative feedback on The Terrace Standard website and Facebook and other social media sites should tell the people behind this that they have no, or very minimal backing for this agenda.

Overwhelmingly, people recognize that they are from “Terrace” even if they live in Thornhill. Modern politicians have learned, to their peril that ignoring social media discussions can lead to some very bad consequences.

Cases in point are readily available, Kitimat residents may reside in Whitesail, Nechako and the delightfully named “Strawberry Meadows”, but they all live in Kitimat.

Prince George has “The Hart”, College Heights and “the VLA”, Quesnel has Johnstone Sub, West Quesnel, Maple Heights and others but again, they are all residents of Quesnel.

Locally, we have Lower and Upper Thornhill (a realtor’s dream name, no doubt) the Bench, Horseshoe, North Terrace and Southside. Why choose to be separate and speak with many voices when by speaking together, we could number amongst the largest communities in northern B.C.

How attractive would it be for businesses, developers and other ventures relocating to the area to see a population of 20 thousand plus as a base of operations rather than a group of small scattered hamlets, the largest being Terrace at less than 11,500.

While not an expert on municipal administration (I’ll leave that to my co-columnist Andre Carrel), aren’t there marketability, stability and cost savings to be gained by at least discussing a renewed and redefined relationship between us all?

Would a reimagined council be a more efficient way of administering both communities’ common interests?

There are those in Thornhill that feel that Terrace residents want to dominate and meddle in “Thornhill affairs”.  Perhaps there are some people who feel that way and who would attempt to do so, but given that we haven’t even studied or discussed the benefits or pitfalls together, how can we know that for certain?

What to do? How about a city or town council with seven members, two or three being elected jointly from Thornhill, including Copper Mountain and Gossen, and perhaps another from North Terrace / Remo?

I think some great things could be accomplished if we found a way to also include Kitselas and Kitsumkalum in the mix and thereby giving a First Nations perspective to regional issues like zoning and development.

This is one suggestion only, and one that may not work, but again, if we don’t approach this openly as adults, thinking of the big picture, how do we know?

Would a separate Terrace and Thornhill be able to work together or would they be continually fighting for scraps, throwing out tax incentives to lure people and businesses away from each other?

Back to sign moving. History records that Ramses 1, devoid of the vision that marked his son’s reign, had a relatively short and uninspiring reign and has no monuments or signs to mark his place in history.

To quote a certain American politician, we are indeed “stronger together”.  We need to start talking to each other to move ahead.

Steve Smyth is a past director of the Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society and a current director of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce.

Just Posted

Suspected methamphetamine and scale seized by police. (Terrace RCMP photo)
Terrace RCMP seize guns, ammo, suspected narcotics

Man released after court appearance

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Uplands Nursery this year will do all of the 4600 Block of Lazelle Ave., beginning at its east end, and a portion of the 4700 Block. (File photo)
Lazelle sidewalk project begins June 14

Improvements coming to 4600 and 4700 Blocks

Cassie Hall Elementary School students pose for a picture in their garden. Since 2019, students and staff at the school have been attending to the garden project. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
Cassie Hall students grow a green sanctuary at school

The K-6 elementary school students and staff have been working on the garden project since 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read