Bob Menyk thinks we can best move forward by looking back at the past

Dear Editor:

One day back in the mid 1960s I got up in the morning to go to school. My dad who was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee said, “You are not going to school today. Today you are going to learn more than in any one day at school.” Having no idea of what he was talking about, I stood there staring at him. I was going to the Court House to observe an Expropriation Hearing between a resident at 12 Mile and BC Hydro.

Bob Melnyk believes Mark McKee is Revelstoke's best choice for mayor and better decisions in the future. Photo courtesy of Mark McKee
Bob Melnyk believes Mark McKee is Revelstoke’s best choice for mayor and better decisions in the future. Photo courtesy of Mark McKee

The instructions were very basic, sit and watch and listen. Dad said he would answer any questions after it was done. Even at a young age, it became clear very quickly, that the residents’ poor command of English, coupled with a likely fear of authority, was used by Hydro’s Expropriation Team to try and degrade the value of the resident’s property.

At the end of the day Dad was right. I learned more that day than I did during any day at school. It taught me to be wary of bureaucracy and stand up and speak out when you disagree. As the hearings came mostly to an end, people were moving off the flats. Some moved away to other communities, some to South Revelstoke, and some to the City of Revelstoke, as it was then, some to the Big Eddy and unfortunately, some just withered away and died as all that was familiar and home for decades, was taken away.

For those who moved into the Big Eddy, this was now home. It had a nice rural atmosphere and some elbowroom. For the remainder of the ’60s and ’70s, the Big Eddy pretty much became what you see today. The environment in the regional district was good – homes and businesses were constructed with minimal red tape. Life was good. The Big Eddy had its own waterworks and was proud of its utility.

It served them well. In 1981 the amalgamation of Big Eddy, the existing City and South Revelstoke/Arrow Heights took place. The areas that were in the regional district were voted into the City by the residents of the existing City. It was in my opinion, a well-played political move by unknown political players. The perception was that if the City proper did not vote the Regional District areas in, the City proper would bear the entire cost of policing. Not true, but effective. At that time, the residents of the Regional District, as is true today, shared in the cost of the same services that exist in the City excluding water/sewer.

This leads me to today.

To be continued on Wednesday, November 4…