It’s been an interesting, challenging and rewarding year.
Since I started at The Reminder 13 months ago, so much has happened in Flin Flon. One of the first large stories I covered and still one of my favourites was the recycling program celebrating its 25th anniversary. I knew then that this town is full of incredible people doing remarkable things.
Since then, I’ve had the privilege to speak with and share the stories of a residential school survivor, discuss some of the many accomplishments of powerhouse MLA Clarence Pettersen shortly before he died, and take a spin on Hapnot Collegiate’s student-built virtual reality setup.
In the last 13 months Flin Flon has launched a new music festival to rave reviews, unveiled a modern and attractive tourism brand for the area and elected a new city council and school board.
In that time I’ve been lucky to meet so many people from Flin Flon, Creighton and the surrounding area, to learn about them and to share in their slice of the world.
This will be my last issue as editor of The Reminder. I’m so grateful to have experienced some time at this paper, and even more grateful for the connections I’ve made with wonderful community members through this position.
I leave The Reminder at an interesting time for Flin Flon.
Like in so many years past, there’s talk of 777 Mine closing in the near future. While the closing date has been a moving target for ages, make no mistake: it will come.
This time around, however, perhaps more so than in the past, there’s reason to hope for the future. Significant action both inside and outside the community has led to a push for economic development and promotion of tourism as a secondary industry for the area. With the backing of Manitoba’s major tourism organization, Travel Manitoba, and with a new brand we will hopefully see implemented shortly, combined with Manitoba popping up on all kinds of must-visit lists, Flin Flon is poised to become a destination. It will take work, a fresh coat of paint or two, and a unified vision with strong leadership to make it happen, but it can happen.
This could mean a shift in the demographics of Flin Flon, as well. When a major employee in town closes its doors, its employees may find work elsewhere. A new industry could bring new business people and service workers to the area, hopefully along with a boon of tourists.
It will take community engagement, too, and there is a core of hyper-engaged people in this place.
Despite a voter turnout of only 27 per cent in the most recent municipal election, which you can read about on our front page this week, many more who remained silent when it came to the vote want to see this community succeed.
It is the quarter of our community who voted, plus those others who show up in different ways and puts things in motion who will carry this city forward. That is my hope for Flin Flon.
I look forward to seeing what’s next for this community. Thanks for sharing your stories with us, and thanks for reading.