Penticton was recognized by Huffington Post as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit (alongside places like Granada, Spain and Hoi An, Vietnam) based on positive feedback from social media posts, and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful that I can call it home.
There’s so much for citizens and visitors alike to enjoy year-round, from festivals and concerts to stunning vistas and plenty of outdoor/indoor recreation, quality community programs and services, not to mention the art, markets, music, trails, beaches — I could go on for ages about how much I love this community. We have a vibrant, beautiful city we should be proud of.
Despite living in paradise, Pentictonites are suffering from a bit of a morale problem. I believe this is because Penticton is so ideal, and yet it is also brimming with unlocked potential. We love our city the way it is, but we also love the idea of it becoming more. It’s a multi-faceted gemstone we can enjoy in its raw form or polish to a high-gloss shine, and we all have differing opinions about what to do with this precious commodity we all place high value on.
Everyone has a strong opinion about change because we have so much love for Penticton, past, present and future. We are simultaneously afraid to damage its perfection by becoming stagnant and letting potential new opportunities pass us by, or by enacting changes we may not be prepared for. Every time an issue comes up, it is immediately dubbed controversial, leaving us with a polarized debate that all too often escalates into energy-draining anger and frustration. Often we forget to get all the facts, jump to conclusions, bring up old debates or drag in alternate agendas. We are all guilty of this, because we care so strongly.
Feeling passionately, having an opinion, and disagreeing with one another about those opinions is an inevitability of life. What is not inevitable is how we treat each other: we have the ability to have dialogue and discussion without being disrespectful, we can voice our opinions and listen to what others have to say in return. We can open our minds and consider other perspectives. We can gracefully accept when things don’t go our way, or refrain from gloating “I told you so” when they do. This is what is truly threatening our beautiful city; not radical changes nor stagnation, but failing to treat each other with respect and kindness. If you truly want to see this city as I do, or the way the tens of thousands of visitors see it every year, I have this advice: Be kind, be grateful, be open-minded. You won’t regret it.