September, 2019

COLUMN: Looking back over 25 years of changes

Summerland Review editor has reported on the community since 1994

Today marks my 25th anniversary of working here at the Summerland Review.

That’s 1,300 issues of the paper. Over the years, I’ve written somewhere between three million and four million words for this newspaper.

The numbers surprised me. It doesn’t feel as if I’ve been here all that long, and there are still plenty of things I am continuing to learn about this community.

I have often said that Summerland felt like home from the moment I arrived here. But it’s also a home that has gone through some big changes over the years.

In 1994, we didn’t have Sunday store openings. In fact, quite a few places were also closed on Monday.

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway was not yet operating its tourist train service when I arrived. Today, the train is one of our top visitor attractions, drawing people from around the province and around the world.

The British Columbia wine industry was still in its infancy in the mid-1990s and there were just two wineries operating in Summerland when I started working here.

Today, Bottleneck Drive represents more than 20 wineries, cideries, breweries and a distillery in the community. These numbers are continuing to grow.

In the 1990s, Summerland had murals on many downtown buildings and the core of the community had a unique design theme.

Today, many of these murals are gone and the design theme, first called Tudor and later called Old English, has been abandoned.

We might not have our Old English theme anymore, but today we have two rainbow crosswalks downtown — something that was not even considered in the 1990s.

And there have been plenty of other changes as well.

Summerland today is quite different from Summerland in 1994.

I’ve also seen some transformations at this newspaper and in the news media.

When I started working here, we did not yet have email. Today, stories are posted online throughout the day and readers are able to comment about what they are reading.

The move to digital communications has also affected the way the news is presented to readers.

While some of us were talking about the possibility of online news in the mid-1990s, I doubt anyone could have predicted how much it would have affected our world.

Not everyone will appreciate all the changes Summerland has seen over the years. And some would like to see this community go back to what it was in earlier years.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: The future isn’t what we thought it would be

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

But it isn’t possible to turn back the clock or to hold on to a moment, no matter how good it may be.

Besides, the most important quality in this community has remained, despite the changes Summerland has seen.

There’s a special warmth here.

Time and again, I’ve seen the people of Summerland come together to help someone in need or to support a worthwhile initiative.

And I’ve also experienced this level of warmth myself, many times over the years.

Some of the people I met shortly after I moved here are among my closest friends today.

People have accepted me, even when I have had to cover controversial and divisive issues in the community.

The kind reception I have been shown is something I do not take lightly. I’ve known people working in news media elsewhere who have not felt this level of acceptance.

Looking ahead, I won’t even hazard a guess as to how this community will change in the next 25 years.

And perhaps those changes won’t really matter.

The warmth shown by this community is its most important asset.

As long as this remains, Summerland will continue to be the same wonderful community I discovered 25 years ago.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

October, 1994

Just Posted

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Shuswap First Nations landmark project gets $10,000 boost

The funds received from the Heritage Legacy Fund will assist research and design of the project.

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Blind Bay restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Snapshot: Parked at the park

Natalie Hextall waits on the cool grass in Salmon Arm’s Badger Park… Continue reading

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Most Read