Special to The Record
I like to think that I’m a rather progressive person, one who seeks out reform where it’s needed and believes in moving forward when it comes to our society.
The weird thing about that is I’ve never been a huge fan of change when it comes to the Comox Valley.
Call me protective, pigheaded or nostalgic, but I don’t like it when old buildings get torn down and replaced with modern condos, or when forests I used to run through as a child are bulldozed for residential zoning.
Remember when there was an actual separation between Courtenay and Comox? I do, and now it’s hard to tell where the town ends and the city begins.
When I left to go to university, I used to have mixed emotions about how many new buildings and residential areas would pop up every time I came home to visit. Sometimes I would be mad about it, sometimes I’d be glad to see something we needed finally come to town. I always felt torn – happy to see the Valley grow, but sad to see it change.
Slowly but surely the place was booming, practically bursting out of its seams, and where there only used to be a handful of grocery stores, there were now what seemed like 100, supplied with all the food needed to fill the stomachs of the Valley’s growing population.
It made sense, of course, but did I like seeing familiar forests change into super centres and fast food restaurants? No.
The funny part is that I know how completely irrational this thought process is; that obviously as a centre grows in population, these things have to happen – it’s civilization, right? That’s how we evolve.
It also says something for the Valley. People want to live here because people love it here, and why wouldn’t they? Some come here for holidays and decide right then and there that they’re going to live here. It’s a compliment, one we should be proud of and say, “I know, right? This place is amazing.”
But there’s this stubborn little voice in my head sometimes that doesn’t want swarms of people to move here and make it eventually turn into a big city.
I did my time in Vancouver and I loved it there for what it was, but I left it for smaller centres because of what makes those smaller towns so great.
I love our fun little pubs and quiet sidewalks, our burgers from George’s Food Bar and river swims in summer.
I like the small-town feel that comes with everyone saying hello when you walk by, or opening a door for you when your arms are full of groceries.
A part of me is afraid that if this place gets too big, that’s all going to go away.
Another part knows that despite the amount of growth the Comox Valley has seen since I was born here, those things that have always made this place great won’t change much with the population. That’s mostly because I’ve found that those who have moved here tend to already have, or adopt, our small-town friendliness and appreciation.
They already say hello on the streets and help with doors, whether they came from Vancouver or Toronto, because they love this place and the kind of character that makes it what it is – that’s why they moved here, and they don’t want to see it torn down and turned into a metropolis either.
So maybe we’ll all be okay after all… just as long as we get the good old Lorne back in Comox, or is that a discussion for next time?
Katie Maximick is a freelance writer for the
Comox Valley Record