Critical, but still enjoyed Parksville

The Childs got involved in many aspects of local business and education for eight years

Gary and Renate Child

Gary and Renate Child

“There were so many positives about Parksville, the wonderful people, it’s such a friendly hospitable community, the weather, the pride is infectious,” says former chamber president and Pacific Brimm owner Gary Child from his new home in Washington State.

But Child also had some honest criticism of the community he and his wife Renate chose to live in with their family for eight years.

He said that while there were several reasons they left, the main one was the educational system and specifically its focus on vocational training.

With their children reaching late high school age, he said he and his wife — a former DPAC (district parent advisory council) chair — wanted them to have a better launch into post secondary options, which they wouldn’t get here.

Child, president of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce in 2010-11, was also disappointed with the local economy.

“The best word for it is stagnant.”

He said while they loved their time here in some ways it felt like a break from their real careers and “Basically it’s time to go back to work,” he said explaining he had worked in high tech and his wife was in business accounting.

He said another final straw was a state of the city address mayor Chris Burger gave to the business community in February in which Child said he didn’t discuss the economy.

“That alarmed me, what are they doing for the business community?”

And so they are off to Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle where IBM, Google and Microsoft have offices, back to his wife’s home country where there are more oportunities for them.

Child is from Toronto, but his wife and children are all U.S. citizens making the transition easy despite the cultural differences that he said people often under estimate.

He said they brought their children here when they were young to be immersed in both cultures and “we will take many wonderful things away from our time there.”