We invest with our heart and soul into this beautiful place and we become part of the land, ocean and mountains. ~ Robert Skender
The inaccurately and ironically named corporation, Paper Excellence, has announced an indefinite curtailment of the Catalyst Paper Tis’kwat pulp and paper mill, and with that, a loss of more than 200 jobs, plus the residual benefits to the local economy.
All the while, our town labours through the omnipresent COVID-19 pandemic and all its menacing variants. These days are not easy, but together we are strong.
Similar to an individual, a town has a personality and identity. For more than a century, Powell River has been identified as a pulp and paper producing town named after 19th century colonial politician Israel Powell, whose antiquated value system doesn’t fit with our progressive, widened, 21st century moral sphere.
If we, together as a town, have a collective identity, can we have a collective identity crisis?
Well, my phrase “collective identity crisis” may be overdramatic on my part, however, right now, there are ample “spirited” discussions within our beautiful town and region. These talks are about some of our fundamental parts, such as, for example, our name. Does the name Powell River accurately reflect our evolved beliefs and inclusive values?
With events like the indefinite curtailment of the mill, Powell River’s collective identity is changing fast, and we have an opportunity to adapt and become an even better place to live and experience positive growth.
Hopefully, the pulp and paper mill site will evolve along with our accelerated changing society, possibly providing a climate crisis friendly fuel like hydrogen, while being part of a vibrant green economy into a cleaner future.
Our individual wellness is fully integrated into our collective identity. We invest with our heart and soul into this beautiful place and we become part of the land, ocean and mountains.
Individual wellness dovetails into our collective group’s health, which is rooted in the rock and soil of the land.
Together we are strong and can adapt and overcome anything, and thrive in an abundant future.
We are Tis’kwat, qathet and Powell River, together and strong, and we should acknowledge and be grateful to live on the traditional and treaty territory of Tla’amin Nation.
Collective and individual, together and strong.
Robert Skender is a qathet region freelance writer and health commentator.