On behalf of the Ashcroft & District Lions and the Rotary Club of Ashcroft-Cache Creek, thank you very much to The Journal and Andrea Walker for the excellent article in the October 18 issue clarifying the role of Communities in Bloom in the development of the Chinese cemetery (“Communities in Bloom judges erred in their comments”).
Years ago Shirley Dobson suggested to Rotary that they clean up the Chinese cemetery. Lions were invited to help. For years, twice a year, we pulled weeds to try and make it look better.
Then-Lion Wayne Richardson (Graymont) had truckloads of lime rock brought in, and Rotary and Lions spent hours moving the lime rock with wheelbarrows and a small loader donated by Irly Bird.
Rotarians and Lions raked the lime rock for days. Then we had the dedication stone put in, and Rotary and Lions had the memory board designed, built, and installed.
Recently Rotary—especially Pache Denis—started working with Marina Papais and Daniel Collett, and the dragon mosaic and bench were created and installed. Eventually the altar was built with the generous and invaluable help of Bruce Walker, Alex Lepore, and others.
Rotary and Lions built the frames for the gravesites and filled them with gravel. Rotary has had the vision and been the planners, Lions have helped with the grunt work. Communities in Bloom have recently been very helpful in organizing the unveiling at the Chinese cemetery.
There are many others who have helped over the years, making the Chinese cemetery truly a community project to be proud of.
Secretary, Ashcroft & District Lions Club
Well, it’s over, and both Ashcroft and Cache Creek have new mayors; Ashcroft with its first female mayor, so it’s a history marker for sure. The election of 2018 brought out an unprecedented number of voters as well: 740 turned out to cast their ballots in Ashcroft.
The elections in both communities reflected the people wanted change. But they also wanted the anchor of experience. Barbara Roden’s role in the community has been high-profile for at least the last three years, not only as councillor, but as a stage performer. Ashcroft’s arts community is an ongoing vibrant entity. The HUB’s enhanced stage with the acoustic material installed has made a terrific difference. We have two new plays coming up.
I am hoping that the ongoing maintenance of this valuable resource will continue to be supported: not only by the public, but by sponsors, both corporate and municipal. Ashcroft is coming of age. We’re moving out of the “making do” stage of our development, into the more professional. As essential as volunteer labour is, Village resources are required. That equates to money. As other municipalities large and small have realized in recent years, art attracts tourism. Art that is both visual and performing is a face-changing reality.
Ashcroft’s need for housing should be council’s priority. We have the container port’s development and the recruitment of labour to consider. Where are people going to live? The development of land within Village boundaries requires some cool thinking. Mayoral candidate Alf Trill suggested the land currently owned by Ashcroft Ranch is a valuable piece of real estate that is ripe for development. It would make a prime investment for a developer.
Municipalities can’t spend taxpayer’s money on real estate. But they can seek developers willing to invest in land that could be used for residential and commercial development. Water, that prime necessity, could be pumped from the Thompson to provide not only for a development across the Trans-Canada adjacent to Ashcroft Manor, it could provide water to the Ashcroft Band as well.
Asian developers have already begun investing in this area around Ashcroft: 60 per cent of the container port, for example, is owned by Singapore investors. Yes, it took some work to attract them, but the development two kilometres from the Village is ongoing. It might be of interest to more recent residents of Ashcroft that the major shopping mall on Railway Avenue across from the post office was developed initially by a Chinese investor.
Yes, there’s a lot for our new council to think about and do in the months and years ahead. It isn’t self-interest that moves the mountain of possibilities. It’s commitment to the town.