It would be easy to point to an aging demographic in the oldest region of the country as a cause, but we believe it’s more complex.
As we put together today’s newspaper, we couldn’t help but notice a theme. We are willing to believe it’s been a theme in our paper and in our communities for some time, but it seems to have jumped to the forefront today.
On Page 27 today there’s a story about the Coombs Hilliers Recreation and Community Organization putting out the call for some fresh faces. The membership list is at an all time low and the group says some of its long-standing, popular events might have to be cancelled if it does not get an infusion of volunteers soon.
Then we jump to Page 32 and a story about the Speedwatch people, the ones at the side of the road with the big speedometers gently warning drivers about their pace in trouble spots like school zones.
Speedwatch used to have 35 active members and now have just a handful, which means much of its equipment sits idle.
This district of ours has almost always been made up of, let’s say, those with advanced life experience. That gives us confidence the two organizations above, now having put the word out, will find some people to at least partially fill their ranks.
Oceanside is not short of good people who care about their community, as evidenced by our most varied and vibrant music, arts and sports scenes.
The other story in this vein that caught our eye may present issues not so easily remedied. The Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department, and presumably others of the same ilk in our district, are facing both training and succession challenges.
It’s a multi-layer story that we cannot do justice to in this space today, but suffice to say the training and accompanying certification standards for someone to volunteer as a firefighter these days is onerous at best, impossible at worst, for volunteer fire departments
We only hope it’s not the beginning of the end of volunteer fire departments and the slippery slope to major tax increases mandating full-time firefighters filling fewer fire halls that are further and further away from your home.
— Editorial by John Harding