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Good news for a change

Usually, my favourite news stories are what you might call bad news. I prefer to think of it as big news.

Usually, my favourite news stories are what you might call bad news. I prefer to think of it as big news. It's not that I'm happy to see crimes, scandals and disasters, but they do make for more exciting reading than rezoning applications and bake sales.

It's a rare and wonderful day when the truly big news is also good news. But that's what happened this week. Amongst all the usual articles about crack dealers, grow-ops, murders and political in-fighting, there is news that will have real, long-term importance for the Sunshine Coast: the establishment of two new cultural facilities.

Both the museum in Egmont and the eco-education centre at Ruby Lake started out as ideas - dreams, if you will - in the minds of people who saw the unique potential of this place. They are becoming realities now because of grants from the softwood fund set up by the federal government, but without the years of groundwork done by the dreamers they would not be happening.

There has been much disappointment in this community about the way in which the Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative (SICEAI) funding was managed. The goalposts for grant applications changed during the process, some worthy projects didn't make the cut, and the $500,000 grant shared by the Egmont museum and Ruby Lake centre is a far cry from the $3 million slice of the SICEAI pie which local experts anticipated last year. Certainly it doesn't come close to replacing the economic contribution of the estimated 300 forestry-related jobs lost on the Coast because of the softwood trade dispute with the U.S.

But setting aside those disappointments, the launching of these two projects is truly exciting. The museum and the field studies centre will be attractive to tourists, of course. But they will also offer opportunities for locals to learn more about the natural and human history of the place we call home. We have a chance to learn to value the Coast's uniqueness before those special qualities are lost.

If the rumours about a major expansion of Capilano College's Sechelt campus turn out to be true, that will be even better news. I love living here on the Sunshine Coast, and there's not much I miss about the city, but opportunities for higher education are definitely lacking. Here's hoping for more good news stories. In the meantime, back to the crime beat and political in fighting.