One side of Wellness

An Ashcroft resident argues in favour of the Wellness branding.

To the Editor,

Re:  Aug. 7 letter to the editor from Susan Allam of North Saanich, BC.

It is almost incomprehensible to me that a motorist driving along Hwy. 1 could become as disturbed by our Wellness Awaits You signage as Ms. Allam from North Saanich attests. In fact, Ms. Allam’s reactions are so over the top that one wonders just how genuine they are.

To drive off the Highway, pass judgement on a community, subsequently belittle said community in the local newspaper, AND threaten to contact the big city media: such is her outrage, one is forced to conclude that Ms. Allam is indeed in need of some “wellness”!

She makes the same fundamental error in understanding wellness that the folks who have questioned our brand recently have also done. Wellness is not a thing nor, for Heaven’s sake, is it a hospital. It is the physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle that leads to wellbeing.

My husband and I have lived in large cities and small towns. We chose to move to Ashcroft three years ago, and what we have found here is definitely wellness. Ashcroft is, without question, the nicest place we have ever lived – filled with  welcoming and sincere residents, a lively arts community, devoted volunteers, active and involved parents and families, and everywhere friendliness.

People smile and say hello or good morning as you pass them by, walkers wave at drivers and drivers wave at walkers. They might not know each other, they just are friendly. Shopkeepers are genuinely interested in their customers, and take the time to visit and assist.

This is the happiest community we know of and if Ms. Allam decides to spend a little time here, she will come to know that herself.

We live in what surely must be one of the most beautiful sites in the world. We walk the track at the high school daily, and constantly marvel at the gorgeous vista we look at each day through the seasons.

Within minutes we can be at a lake or on a gorgeous country road to explore. We have no traffic lights or lineups or rush hour to contend with, we have relatively little crime, clean streets, well-tended yards and homes.

We live within blocks of one of the largest vegetable farms in BC. I’m sure Ms. Allam has heard of the 100 Mile Diet – well, we have the one mile diet! Further afield, it is only a short drive to access all kinds of fruits and vegetables. The harvest is available to us during the growing season, and also provides us with root vegetables and squashes to last the winter.

In short, we have found Ashcroft to be good for the body and the soul. Minimizing stress, eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and meaningfully engaging with our community and its residents have convinced us that we have indeed found wellness.

I am saddened by Ms. Allam’s judgement. She does a great disservice to our community and its people, but I do wish her well in her continued search to find wellness. It just might be closer to her than she realizes!

Jo-Anne Portman

Ashcroft, BC