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Why I live in the Prince George and support Northern BC

Like many people, I came to Prince George for a ‘bit’. My original plan was to leave the city for a while by way of a teaching job at Prince George’s College of New Caledonia. Since both of my courses were on Wednesdays, I commuted from Calgary every Tuesday and returned to the city on Thursday. Before long though, I’d made friends in PG and was staying over the odd weekend. Before I knew it, the semester was over and I’d agreed to take on a bigger workload in January. After all, what was another four months.

22 years later, my family calls Prince George home.

Why did I stay? Over the years, I’ve endured city dwellers who ask me that question while dismissing my adopted home. You might well be one of them. You reference the backwardness of the region and those who toil within a dirty economy driven by resource extraction. You might not have the insight or grace to appreciate that the lumber used to construct your home, the natural gas used to heat it and the electricity used to light it could well have originated from sources located just outside my back door.    

So, when asked, I typically respond by pointing out that in Northern BC we have no fear of natural disaster. We’ve never experienced a tornado, or a hurricane. Unlike our informed neighbours to the south, we’re not built on a seaside delta, so we’re not overly worried about the immediate threat of an earthquake.  Flash floods and massive mudslides aren’t part of our regional psyche. City-dwellers mock our middle of nowhere lifestyle. We just smile and agree and hold our index fingers to our lips.

Shhh! We like it this way.

Here, the length of the morning commute often depends on the drive-thru line-up. Weekend commutes out of town are shorter too –  an easy forty-minute drive in nearly any direction can lead to one of more than thirty local lakes or a hike in pristine wilderness, rarely seen by humankind.

We live in a good place.

So, the answer is, I choose to stay. Although my present job often takes me to Toronto, Vancouver and into the United States, adding one extra flight to each end of my flight-itinerary isn’t such a hardship when the alternative involves living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.  Yes, I complain about the cold sometimes but, truthfully, it’s never cold for long and the freezing temperatures are more than balanced by the number of lakeside campfires that I’ve enjoyed over the years.  I have a great internet connection, mobile connectivity, laptop, cellphone and I can do my job while fitting in my daughter’s dance recitals and still have time to play hockey, skate, swim, run, hike and bike without stressing my wallet. 

In my career, I have done business all over the world. Though I might have to say that I’m “from Vancouver” from time-to-time, I’ve learned that it’s about relationship and people don’t care where I live so long as I can do the job. So, the real question should be whether I care that more people are moving north and calling Prince George home? Yes, I do care. Please stay away, I don’t want to compete for a good beach spot at Purden Lake to plant my lawn chair.

Perry Cook

Perry is the Pacific Regional Manager for Galaxy Broadband Communications and a contributor to Northern BC Business and North BC Mining. After 30 years of being draft eligible for the NHL he instead has take up speed skating and snowshoeing at -25C.

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