Well, here we are. I have put off writing this column until almost the last minute before print as the world around us continues to alter in previously unseen ways.
First things first, SPIN will continue to operate to keep the community informed, as we can all appreciate how important local news is at times like these. Our office will be closed to the public, however we are always available through our email, phone and social media channels. We will be here not only to provide important information, but also to bring the community together. The future is incredibly uncertain at this point, but I do have an unwavering faith in our little village to pull together in times of need.
I want to thank the team at Sun Peaks Resort LLP for making the extremely difficult decision to cease ski operations four weeks early, and also for remaining open as long as they felt was possible. When we look back we will see this was the right move. The tension between protecting our most vulnerable residents and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, while also mitigating the disastrous economic effects of a closure on dozens of small businesses was real, and caused a lot of controversy and anxiety in the community.
But now is the time to move forward together as best we can. As hundreds of young international staff try to make travel arrangements home under extreme conditions, as business owners decide to close their doors and slash their operating expenses, and as full time residents look forward to the complete unknown, we have to help each other out as much as possible.
It’s been a wild ride of a season so far, with slow snow start, a New Year’s blackout, and an unexpected early closure. As a fellow small business owner, I ask you to support the village in any way possible. Not only are we facing the loss of winter business, but the tour busses we rely on to get through the shoulder season probably aren’t coming this year. Even summer tourism is a gamble at this point. While many sectors will be hit hard during this crisis, smaller tourism-based operations may not make it through.
But over the next few weeks I invite everyone not to dwell too much on a future that’s out of our hands and to lean into what we can control, which is our ability to to help our friends, family, and neighbours.
If you are in Sun Peaks and need assistance, please feel free to email [email protected] and we will assist you as much as we can. If you have an ability to help, such as resources to share or accommodation to offer, please let us know and we will assist in making these connections as much as we can. These circumstances will hit our most vulnerable citizens, such as seasonal workers and the elderly, the hardest and we need to look after each other.
Thank you to everyone who is stepping up and supporting the community: our health care professionals and emergency response teams, our government officials and resort leaders, our tourism association, all those providing transportation, communication and essential goods and services.
Thank you to my small team for staying calm and collected during a tough time to produce the news. We will all come out of this with a renewed appreciation for each other and our community.