Silver City Days bring out the sights of summer

It is a pleasure to see our community coming fully awake with the onset of some warmer weather, and just in time for Silver City Days.

It is a pleasure to see our community coming fully awake with the onset of some warmer weather, and just in time for Silver City Days.

Sitting on the patio of the café across from the greenhouse one morning this week, I spotted the first sundress of the season. All legs and shoulders, the young woman wearing it looked splendid in her splash of yellow fabric.

I didn’t follow her with anything more than my eyes, given that I am Canadian bred, well past such sport anyway, and my wife was sitting beside me.  But, she did make me wonder why so many women these days, including said spouse, spend so much of their time dressed in black. The usual reasons are:

a) black is slimming

b) it goes with everything

c) dark colours need less laundering

d) you’re always ready for a funeral.

The vision in yellow wasn’t without her stylistic mysteries. Why would anyone doff a light-coloured dress and sling-backs to wade the through the muck at a greenhouse? She set me in mind of young Latin women in four-inch stilettos as they hobble along cobblestone streets on their way to the market.

But, impracticality aside, I give Miss Sundress full marks for floating above the sea of gym strip that washes through the streets of this town.

Also providing entertainment that morning was a bold but not very skilled bandit who attempted to make off with a few trees from the greenhouse.

He did manage to drive away with a fruit tree, leaving two lilacs behind as staff shouted at him to stop. But he won’t be sitting under his apple tree with anyone other than his probation officer as multiple witnesses were able to note the licence number of his battered truck.

The theft reminded me of a bank heist in Fruitvale many years ago. The local robber got away with a paper sack full of money, but was readily identifiable by branch staff in the cozy village.

A manhunt ensued. After hiding in the hills and hollows outside of the village for a few days, the cold and hungry suspect turned himself in.

Ah, crime in the Kootenays.

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City council made the right decision this week in restoring funding to the Trail Festival Society for Silver City Days.

While council should review its grants and ensure funds are properly accounted for and effectively spent, the month before a major event that has been running for five decades seems like an odd time for such an undertaking.

Still, it is good to see attempts at fresh thinking from council, such as the discussion of whether some of the funding for the festival should be redirected to expand other downtown events.

These include several seasonal events started or now run by the Chamber of Commerce.

This fits with council’s downtown revitalization campaign and, presumably the soon-to-be-released consultants’ report on the future of the core area. If council ever finishes reviewing the document and releases it to the public that would be an opportune time for a discussion of what Silver City Days should look like going forward. As for parsing receipts and allocating funds, that should be done before serious planning for next year’s festival begins.

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It is exciting to read that the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society is looking at looping its successful Seven Summits Trail. The Rossland Range trail provides a great outing for the more energetic among us and is one of the few new offerings for visitors that the area has come up with in recent years.

As the group pointed out in a recent presentation to Rossland council, the growing network of trails that it has developed or assisted with is an extremely cost-effect recreation project given an annual budget of only $100,000. This compares favourably with the millions of dollars spent on arena and swimming pools, which are all nice facilities but costly.

The trails society is a great example of what a volunteer-driven initiative supported by local governments can do to increase the quality of life and, in the case of the Seven Summits Trail, promote our area.

Now, if only they could come up with a few more dollars to dig out that rock on the old Wagon Road that sent me over my handlebars last summer.

Raymond Masleck is long-time reporter at the Times who now works at surviving his active retirement.