After five years working with the Salmon Arm Observer, Eagle Valley News and Shuswap Market, Jim Elliot is heading to Whitehorse to report on community news, events, and more with the Yukon News. (File photo)

After five years working with the Salmon Arm Observer, Eagle Valley News and Shuswap Market, Jim Elliot is heading to Whitehorse to report on community news, events, and more with the Yukon News. (File photo)

Column: Yukon bound after five years serving the Shuswap

Eagle Valley News reporter grateful to everyone who shared their story

Warm April days, clear water and blue skies over the Shuswap.

As last looks go, it’s not bad at all – last looks for a while at least.

I’m writing this column having completed my last newspaper story for the Salmon Arm Observer. My fingers hit the keys as I take a break from preparing for a long journey to the Yukon to start a new job telling a whole different set of stories.

I came to the Shuswap five years ago as a 21-year old kid with nothing but a journalism degree and a rattly old Jeep to his name. What was supposed to be a four-month temporary job grew more and more permanent.

Reasons to stay were obvious and everywhere: beautiful lakes and mountains, interesting and caring people, a growing feeling that this might be home.

I guess I remain young and dumb enough to grow restless anywhere, so off I go.

One of the things that kept me in place for five years was the community of Sicamous and the opportunity to write about it in the Eagle Valley News as my main responsibility. It was immediately clear I was covering a community that values fun. From friendly folks in a coffee shop to dirt bike jumpers on Main Street to council meetings where no one talks like a bureaucrat, Sicamous lives up to the “Live More” slogan in my eyes.

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I learned a lot during my time in the Shuswap and my work at the newspaper offered a great opportunity to see things and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise.

With that experience, I am able to make an educated guess where things are heading and offer a few words of advice.

Sicamous is growing and changing. In my estimation, those who are guiding that growth have done a good job of tempering resort-community ambitions with projects that will keep Sicamous livable for young families and the elderly.

This is a trend that must continue, the rumble of houseboats and the roar of snowmobiles mean little when compared to wise advice and the laughter of children.

I owe thanks to everyone who works hard to make the Shuswap such a great place to live. I am especially grateful for my friends at the Bulldogs Boxing Gym, all my dedicated co-workers at the Observer and everyone who shared a story with me.

It has been a privilege to report and record the triumphs and tragedies of this special place.

It will follow me wherever I go.

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