The welcoming nature of Valleyview residents is often mentioned, as something remarkable. “The people in town are friendly. It’s not like a big community where you don’t know your neighbours. People don’t even know their own street addresses around here. If someone asks, you’ll say ‘I live next to Bill,” says Lymburner.
It’s a place that actively believes in building community. “We’re always getting together,” says Harris. “Everybody’s trying to get people together to hang out. There are always different functions going on for people to gather.”
It’s a place that people fall in love with, even if they don’t intend to, according to Gervais. “Some RCMP members are hesitant to come here but when it comes time for them to leave, they don’t want to.” He knows at least four RCMP members who returned to Valleyview after they retired. Paradine, the town manager, has lived all over the world, including Germany, Australia and Wales. Why Valleyview? “I like being able to walk to work,” he says. “I like the pace; it’s a little quieter. People are a little more neighbourly, more open and friendly.”
“It’s definitely a small town at its heart,” says Wirth. “It’s not hard to find someone to share a friendly smile with as you walk down the street, or someone to chit-chat with.” The community has a new $3.2 million health centre with five doctors and a dentist, 10 churches, four schools, an outdoor swimming pool, curling rink, library, a golf course, not to mention a $35 million aquatics multiplex in the works.
“You’re close to everything – everything we need is here,” says Harris. “Grocery stores, bowling alley … if you need a haircut you just go up the street and talk to Penny.” It’s a town with opportunities for employees as well as business owners.
“There are jobs available here,” says Lymburner. “A lot of people say, ‘if you’re not working it’s because you don’t want to.”
It’s also a town built for children and families. “It’s a healthy community to raise your kids in,” says Lymburner. “It’s a safe community. As a kid you don’t like that everyone knows what you’re doing but as a parent you’re happy to know that your kids are safe out there.” “It’s a great, close-knit community,” says Esch. “Really, there’s a spot for everyone in Valleyview.”
Another benefit of Valleyview is the wilderness that surrounds it, Esch says. “It’s surrounded by Crown land and has rivers and lakes throughout. It’s close to vast remote wilderness which features some great hunting opportunities and recreational opportunities.” The MD is working on plans that include adding amenities to the wilderness like walking trails, campgrounds, boat launches and more. “It has so much untapped potential,” says Esch.
With its abundant economic opportunities, family-friendly small-town values and easy access to big centres, Valleyview is already growing and there’s a lot of growth to come. Extensive effort and careful financial planning have brought them to this point, says Lymburner. “We have all the infrastructure in place and we’re primed to move into the future,” he says.