By Tom Lupton, Director
One of the great television joys I’ve experienced over the past several years has been the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’. Set in the 1980’s, it tells the story of a group of kids who find themselves embroiled in a ‘Goonies-esque’ adventure armed only with their wits, a Swiss Army knife, their trusty BMX bikes, and a friend with supernatural powers. This has struck a chord with many people from the Gen-X generation because it reminds us of our childhood (minus the supernatural powers), and the endless possibilities and mystery that were so clearly there, just waiting for some kids like us to take it on.
Those days are long gone. With the omnipresence of smart phones and Wikipedia, there are few mysteries left in the world, and exploration happens on the internet, not in the forests like it used to. Yet for those of us who had a childhood like that, the opening of the vintage store in Shawnigan Village, and shows like Stranger Things, have brought us back to a simpler time, and for the young people of the community, they can marvel over how things were in the dark ages before PS4s. Spoiler alert: it was glorious!
More than a walk down memory lane, the new vintage store in the village also speaks to the health of our community. Doug Griffiths wrote in ‘13 Ways to Kill Your Community’ that not having a business friendly community is a sure sign of problems. In the past several years, the ‘Steeples’ building has gone through at least three iterations, so it is gratifying to see such a neat new shop opening up. I wonder how we can help foster a culture of competitiveness that allows businesses to thrive in our community. No doubt, the plans for our village redevelopment have considered this necessity.
It also makes me think about the nature of change in our community, and the opportunities and threats that come with it. Those of us with fond memories of rotary phones and VHS recorders will be sorely disappointed by the news that change is coming, has come, and will continue to come. The Shawnigan Lake of fifty years ago is gone and it is never coming back. So the question we need to ask ourselves is how are we going to shape the future of Shawnigan Lake to protect what we love about it, but also allow for the kind of change that we welcome while at the same time resisting the change we do not? Certainly a very important question with no simple answers, but there can be a strong argument that incorporating would give us greater self-determination and power to protect this gem in the Cowichan Valley; critically we need to find out all of the facts before we go down that road. Of all the topics in the community that gets ‘discussed’ on social media, none seems to carry with it the passion of the incorporation debate, whether for or against the idea. We need to find out whether or not this is a plan that could bear fruit for our community.
It’s the kind of mission that is calling out for a group of people, armed with their old-school BMX bikes, silver hair, and Swiss Army knives to take on. With any luck, this groups theme music will be heavy on the synthesizers, they’ll have pastel coloured uniforms, and all problems will be solved in a neat 30 minute slot complete with a laugh-track. I miss the 80’s.