Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine, the award-winning publication based in the West Kootenays, has just featured Castlegar in a story that offers a fictional account of what the city might look like in 2045.
The article, entitled “Castlegar 2045 – A Fictional Tale of Art & Fish Cannons” was crafted by poet, writer and West Kootenay resident Fletcher FitzGibbon. The protagonist of the story travels to the city to cover “SculptFest, the town’s wildly popular annual arts festival” and to experience the unique culture. “I’ve heard this is a rare town, one where it’s still possible to be alone in nature and experience big-city culture in the same day—and I want to see it with my own eyes,” reads the opening.
We caught up with Fletcher (photographed below) to ask what his inspiration for the tale was. The interview is below and to read the story in its entirety, visit mountainculturegroup.com.
Hi Fletcher. Tell us, what was the inspiration for your article about Castlegar’s future in KMC magazine?
The idea for the piece came from a number of conversations I’d been having that went along the lines of, “I like living here…but it’s getting so expensive!” Places like Vancouver and Victoria and even Nelson seem to be reaching their peak in terms of livability and affordability, while those that are a bit more off the map, like Castlegar and Trail and Salmo, are starting to become a lot more attractive, especially to the kinds of people that make a community vibrant, like artists and entrepreneurs…. Castlegar is already a great place to live and with fresh energy moving there all the time, the future looks pretty rosy.
Why did you pick the year 2045?
This was actually a challenge. I wanted to pick a date far enough into the future that things could get kind of wild and wacky, but as I researched predictions of the future for the story, I realized that with the pace of technological change, it was hard to get too far out there. In as little as 50 years life might be so different that the story would be more in the realm of science fiction. So I settled on 2045 as it seemed far enough to see some broad changes but not too far that we’d need to drop terms like “singular consciousness” and “whole-brain interface.”
Tell us more about what your vision is of “maker culture.”
In a way, the maker culture embodies a lot of what I consider the spirit of the Kootenays. People here like to build things. They are entrepreneurial, determined, creative, playful, and when they see a problem, they set out to find a solution or make their own. I think the maker culture is a great thing to promote in an economy: its people contributing to the local economy in innovative ways while pursuing their passion.
Where’d you get the idea for the fish cannon?
Almost every ‘prediction’ listed in the piece are actual ideas that have been proposed at some level in the community, although some are a bit less serious than others. The fish cannon is an idea proposed by a company called Whoosh Innovations to help bring salmon back to different sections of the Columbia River. I think their proposal is for more of a vacuum tube than a cannon per se, but I thought the cannon made for a better visual for the story.
What’s your favourite area to hang out in in Castlegar?
A perfect day in Castlegar would be a day at the skatepark, followed by a swim in the river and a trip to Boston Pizza. For me, it will always be a town of simple pleasures.