We drove to Smithers today to pick up some flooring for our solarium. It will be one of the last outings, before winter, for the truck, as we will take it off the road soon. We also wanted to check into some studded tires for our new car as our road out of the village to Highway 16 can get pretty icy although the main highway is usually pretty good.
One of the villages we drove through is Telkwa, which means 'Where the Rivers Meet' . Telkwa lies at the meeting of the Telkwa and Bulkley Rivers and is adjacent to Tyee Lake Provincial Park. The history of Telkwa dates back to the 1860s, with the first arrival of construction teams to build an overland Telegraph Line, stretching to the far north. Today, arriving in Telkwa is like stepping into history, as original pioneer homes and businesses still exist, and continue to be used. The Telkwa Sled Dog Championships are held in February, featuring some of the best sled dog sprint racers in the world.
We noticed as we drove through there were a lot more vehicles on the road, new construction is taking place, and buildings that have had no signs on them now have brand new 'For Sale' signs posted on the fronts. It seems sleepy Telkwa is starting to wake up. The reason for this is coal bed methane which is found in ample quantities in the area and, unless local resistance stops it, wells will be drilled and production will begin in the near future.
We carried on to Smithers and again we saw lots of new construction, and new businesses popping up along the highway. It seems the whole area is about to boom. Many places had gone bust for one reason or another in the past but now there is definitely a feeling of change in the air. It may have a lot to do with the new container port being built in Prince Rupert which will bring in goods from Asia, and the prosperity will filter down along the highway or it could be the many new mining ventures that are starting up all over the area. There is work now where there has been little and real estate prices have doubled in a very short time.
While this is all good for those needing work, it is not necessarily good for the area as a whole. What about the wildlife, will they be beaten back even more as their habitat is encroached upon? This year we have seen more moose and bear attacks than usual, are they getting desperate? What about our beautiful rivers and lakes?
In some ways I am excited about the changes, in others I am afraid my home will never be the same again.