Ripple effect through town

I’ve been hearing lots of positive comments lately on how great our village looks.

Although I haven’t been in Burns Lake for many years and I can’t describe what it used to look like five, 10 or 20 years ago, I’ve been hearing lots of positive comments lately on how great our village looks.

I was recently interviewing someone from Prince George, and as soon as I mentioned Burns Lake, she told me that she was positively surprised when she drove through town (she told me she actually thought she was in Smithers, so I took it as a compliment).

We’ve also been getting letters to editor and hearing positive comments from different people all summer long about how great Burns Lake looks (so we must be doing something right).

Last week, Tracey Payne, president of the Burns Lake Community Garden Society, made a presentation to the Burns Lake council highlighting the achievements of the Burns Lake community garden over the past year.

Up until a few months ago, many people in Burns Lake didn’t even know this space existed. The garden had been neglected for a number of years and a serious thistle infestation had developed.

Since the society was formed, there have been an outpouring of in-kind donations and volunteer time, and the space is now a hidden gem in the heart of Burns Lake.

During the council meeting, Payne made a brief comment (that probably nobody gave it much thought but me) that had me inspired for the rest of the week.

Payne said that, like myself, she’s been hearing lots of positive comments about how beautiful Burns Lake looks, and that she wonders if Burns Lake’s newest community garden has had anything to do with it.

That was an interesting thought, considering that the garden is actually known as the ‘secret garden,’ being perfectly hidden by houses, trees, a church and a playground.

Her point was that an initiative such as the community garden, where so much care, work and excitement is involved, can easily have a ripple effect through town.

I mean, of course, the village is doing fantastic work taking care of our town, but who’s to say that the garden hasn’t inspired people to make their front yards look prettier, to take better care of our town by not throwing garbage in the street, to start their own initiatives or simply to value more where we live?

It’s interesting to think that an initiative that was born in a ‘secret garden’ has the potential to affect the town in such positive ways.

This has also made me realize how engaged residents and their big ideas play such an important role in our communities.

We have several other examples here in our town of people trying to make Burns Lake a great place to live.

Although there is a lot of uncertainty regarding timber supply over the next decade in Burns Lake, there are many reasons to have a positive outlook – new hotels being built, a brand new hospital, a great recreation facility, a new sign strategy and a solid economic development plan.

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to seeing what this town will look like five years from now.