There is a long list of reasons why 2021 has been a difficult year for people in many places in British Columbia, Hope included.
To paraphrase the old saying about March, 2021 definitely arrived like a lion but there was no lamb to be seen. It roars all year round.
And after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 changed lives and claimed deaths around the world, there was great hope for 2021 that things would improve. But not only has the pandemic not improved as promised and expected, we have been affected by so much more.
At least we’ve learned a few new terms and words this year. Unfortunately, we now know about thermal domes and atmospheric rivers, and our understanding of the Greek alphabet is growing month by month.
Those of us covering the news in 2021 tried to give as little ink as possible to cover anti-vaccines that continued to spread disinformation and lies that only served to prolong the pandemic.
The District of Hope made regional and national news for a few unfortunate reasons in 2021, including when restaurant owner Rolly’s decided to defy provincial health orders, mistakenly claiming COVID-19 is not a risk to the community. health and that it is illegal to ask for proof of vaccination.
The restaurant remains closed by order of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. And while this story doesn’t have a happy ending, nothing positive to take away from it, many tragedies and natural disasters this year have brought out the best in people.
In late June, warm temperatures broke in several cities across the province as the Fraser Canyon was hit hard. A cooling center has been set up by Hope and Area Transition Society to help the homeless or those without air conditioning at home.
Then Lytton hit a staggering 49.4C before wildfires razed most of the community in less than half an hour on June 30.
Here we have seen the charitable nature of so many as people have stepped up their donations of food, clothing and money. People offered rooms in homes and places in RVs through a BC Wildfire and Flood Support Facebook group that had already been established during the 2017 wildfire season.
Many in the group were offering help to provide shelter for people and animals in Merritt, Hope and all the way to Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley.
Fast forward to November, when back-to-back atmospheric rivers poured water from the sky, causing catastrophic flooding in Abbotsford, Merritt and Princeton.
But the people of Yarrow in Chilliwack and here in Hope have also been hit hard by the water.
With landslides hitting the region’s roads and highways, 1,300 travelers were stranded in Hope for four days.
This too ended as a story of people helping people. Residents help strangers, neighbors help neighbors. People en route to and from other parts of the province, passing through Hope, ended up taking refuge in churches, homes, even high school.
Here are better days ahead in 2022 for Hope.
There is indeed always hope, there must be.
Paul Henderson is the editor-in-chief of The Chilliwack Progress and the interim editor-in-chief of The Hope Standard.
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