Monday, August 08, 2005

Skeena update

The Artful Cup has become my daily morning hangout, riffing on someone's wireless and downing a few Americano with cream. After a few days of solid cloud, there's sun in the Skeena valley, and when the sun pops out the town comes alive. Despite the cool morning temperatures people are out sipping coffee, but I'm in here with my hoodie pulled up over my head. By noon it'll be steaming.
More Walmart drama--all the other stores in town are slashing prices to try and compete. Shoppers Drug Mart has purchased Northern Drugs and is building a mega-drugstore in the Lakelse Mall. Meanwhile The Skeena Mall is looking a lot worse for wear. Once it was a bustling mall filled with a healthy variety of chains and local businesses. Not anymore.
My sister is happy with Wal-Mart because of the variety and low cost, and lets face it, in a town of 16,000, variety is welcome. But there won't be much variety when the othe
r stores all close. Perhaps WalMart knows something the average jane doesn't? Maybe there are economic developments in store for this area? I've heard talk of these offshore rigs finally coming to Rupert but I don't know that this would really benefit Terrace. I've also heard that Alcan is expanding in Kitimat, but how would that effect Terrace enough to warrant these big guns coming to town? Because of course where WalMart goes, so to will Staples--they already have McDonald's and A & W. (They actually elected a Mayor here based on his promise to bring McDonald's to town...).
The town will always be a supply center for the northern Native communities. Though maybe those communities will figure out a way to supply themselves and bypass the town altogether. Have these communities merged?
But I'm sounding snarky when I in fact find something roguishly charming about this town. There's a kind of naive quality about it. Quietly energetic. I wonder how has it held through this economic and industrial transition, and what is it transitioning to? The mills closed down a while back and though I've heard talk of them reopening who knows when and how?
We ate sockeye, red and rich, caught in the Skeena. I had heard that the salmon industry is in trouble, and no doubt it is, but the salmon are still abundant in the rivers up here. Unspoiled, aside from the patches of logging, the land is still relatively unspoiled.

Here's a photo essay of the area. So far nature, but town shots to come.

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