A sailboat heads west from Esquimalt in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the 2020 B.C. Day long weekend. (John McKinley file)

Editorial: Vancouver Island community shows its resilience

Remarkable spirit shown amid COVID-19 pandemic

These are most certainly uncertain times. Difficult times.

But as we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded daily of not only what a special place we live in, but what remarkable people – and their remarkable spirit – surrounds us.

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce, noted the resilience during a recent chat with the VI Free Daily about 2021.

“People are pretty passionate about living here, it’s not a tough sell. And so I think that there was a resolve for us to get through things together,” he said.

“And I see that when I’m talking to people in general. I see people who are unhappy with things and I see people who have solutions and I think that that’s all part of that supporting us locally and getting through things together, speaking of community.”

READ MORE: PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

He’s correct. It is the togetherness that will get us through.

“It goes back to that ‘support local’ thing,” continued Burden, referencing an initiative from the chambers. “We chose the term ‘support local’ rather than ‘shop local’ and we chose it purposely. Because it’s not just about buying your goods and services here, it’s about supporting the not-for-profits here. It’s about supporting our local governments. It’s about supporting our community as a whole.”

A spot-on message.

Also making note of the resilience is the Society of Organized Services. So much so that their 2021 calendar is entitled ‘Our Resilient Community’.

It features images captured by professional photographers in and around the communities during the unusual summer of 2020.

“Although many residents felt scared as the threat of illness, job loss and uncertainty loomed, there was also something wonderful happening,” explained SOS officials.

“Residents were assisting one another with warmth and kindness. Images of front-line workers, service providers, hospitality workers, grocery store clerks, first responders, volunteers and residents getting through another day of the pandemic with optimism, are all featured in the calendar.”

The sentiment behind the calendar is wonderful. Even in the worst of times for many, businesses and residents are still finding time for our most vulnerable people.

That’s working together. That’s community. That’s resilience.

At some point (hopefully soon) we’ll emerge from this pandemic and return to at least some semblance of normalcy.

And when we do, we should look back proudly at the actions and spirit of our community members and how it will serve us well moving forward.

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