Author Malcolm Gladwell in a book title uses the term Tipping Point to describe a situation in which a negative force has been permitted to prevail for too long; with the tipping point being that tragic time of ‘no return’.
All empires expire and that which was magnificent often crumbles into dust via wars, decimation of populations or all too often neglect, benign or overt.
And while I am sorry to bring up the subject, it is something I see in my own community, most precisely in the downtown core of Courtenay. I’m not saying Courtenay has become a mini-Detroit, but nobody once thought the downtown of a vibrant ‘Motor City’ would become a squalid mess.
While I rarely use my blog for any sort of screed other than ironic or smartass views of the world, I have decided at this point to be a little more overt. While I am not especially indicting anyone here – and if there are those who should be indicted I’ll leave the reader to draw his/her own conclusions in that regard – but just pointing out the state of the situation as I, and many others see it.
Something is rotten in the state of Courtenay’s core.
While i don’t live in Courtenay per se, I have lived there and have resided in the Comox Valley for more decades than I care to even contemplate. Weird for a guy who saw himself as a city slicker from Vancouver and planned to stay for two years tops when he first arrived. But, life doesn’t always unfold in the ways we plan.
But, when I first came to the Valley, downtown Courtenay was a charming place to be, to wander in, to visit the shops which were plentiful then and diverse enough to offer inviting enticements.
Don’t get me wrong here. There are still stalwart and fine businesses determined to hold the line and I commend those who are carrying on despite the adversities they face from the ‘Big Boxes’ across town and the less than savory socio-economic element that has come to be too prevalent. I lived in this place for decades without ever being hit-up for spare change on the streets of Courtenay. Today, sadly, that has become a virtual norm. Not meaning to disparage those in want, but many of them, let’s be frank, are in ‘want’ due to their own choices. And I don’t appreciate their choices encroaching on mine. Just saying.
And in that context I know of people who have stopped wandering around those same streets due to the fact the experience has become less than agreeable.
And, if we find those elements alongside the empty one-time businesses, and a weed-infested street corner that used to house a vibrant cinema, since burned, and evident that there seems to be little will by those who could do something about it to, well, do something about it. I weep for the remaining businesses in the area.
A few years ago business took me to the interior town of Kamloops, a place I hadn’t been to for years. On a Saturday morning my wife and I took a stroll down to old Kamloops, the original business district. It was rife with empty shops and shells of buildings, whereas uphill, where we were staying, all was vital and vibrant with spiffy new buildings and big box emporia along with the ubiquitous Stabucks and other eateries.
And by now somewhat familiar.
I’d like the ‘old’ Courtenay back. Or has it reached that Tipping Point of no return?