State of business

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Recently, there’s been a number of complaints going around social media regarding local businesses. This includes the everpresent problem of high gas prices as well as the state of several businesses in town. This has included some calls for council or local media to do something about it.

It’s also included some complaints that it’s only volunteers or proactive citizens who have managed to make significant improvements in town (i.e. the water park or the new stage). This isn’t something new. The majority of improvements have always been made by volunteers or private businesses. In Europe, where towns and cities have existed for hundreds of years, this may be a little hard to see, but in a town like 100 Mile House, you don’t have to reach back nearly as far.

It’s not that long ago that 100 Mile House was nothing but fields and forest. The only reason it’s not that any more is because some people decided to roll up their sleeves and turn it into something (whether it was the emissaries, mill founders and owners, ranchers or others).

Those who run for and sit on council aren’t much different. By the time you’ve paid your campaign expenses, survived the rather fierce competition this year for a spot on council and put in all the hours in meetings etc., it’s hard to believe anyone on council is in it just for the money… You’d probably be just as well off getting a minimum wage job.

Coming back to the business situation, of course, the newspaper would like to see businesses in town flourish (who wouldn’t) but unless there is serious misconduct such as the case brought against Spruce Hill recently, it’s really not the newspaper’s place to “shame” businesses. “Bussiness X really needs some repairs,” isn’t a headline we’ll ever run. There’s fairly little council can do too.

Certainly, taxpayer dollars going to “improve” private businesses is a terrible idea. Pulling or withholding business licences simply because council doesn’t like the business or what the business is doing is an extremely dangerous precedent, probably illegal and, if anything, will deteriorate the business situation in town. However, that’s not to say nothing can be done. Businesses face a number of challenges, a major one being staffing. Furthermore, some of the businesses that are facing such criticism are in the hospitality sector. Perhaps, for example, there’s room for 100 Mile to be marketed better.

On the issue of gas prices, we’ll do our best to see if we can run more stories and make the issue a little more prominent. However, if it’s really such a big concern for residents, they could at the very least take the effort to send in some letters to the editor about it.

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