KAMLOOPS — Kamloops is once again teetering on the precipice of becoming a big city, and a lot of its residents would like it to continue being a small town.
That juxtaposition is why many residents love this community, but it also leads to its fair share of inherent conflict.
First, downtown parking.
For those who work downtown and need to leave their vehicles in one spot all day, it is an issue.
There is a shortage, and the city needs to figure out how to create more spaces.
But many of the people complaining about parking are not downtown employees, they are downtown customers.
They seem to carry the expectation that they should be able to park right in front of the store they are patronizing at any time.
They'd like to be able to park, get out, pop into the store for a few moments, get back into their cars and move on.
Circling the block is a frustration.
Parking two blocks away and walking to the store is unacceptable.
For customers, the parking shortage is hugely overblown.
Those so-called inconveniences are so small town, they're almost embarrassing to discuss.
If we want all of the conveniences of the big city, we'll have to accept that downtown parking may not cater directly to our needs from time to time.
But then there's the gun violence that has hit Kamloops in recent weeks.
For a small town mentality, shocking.
For a big city mentality, maybe not so much.
With cities come drug users, and with drug users come drug dealers, and with drug dealers come competition.
That leads to violence and in recent weeks that has meant gunfire.
It's a part of a city's growth, but that's cold comfort.
Perhaps it would be less distressing if all of the recent incidents could be traced back to one person or group of people.
The fact that the gun crimes are seemingly independent of each other suggests there is a lot going on here that can't be simply blamed on one house.
RCMP are quick to point out that there are no established gangs running the streets in Kamloops, though there are gang associates who live here.
Most Kamloops residents don't care about the distinction.
If our streets are erupting in gunfire, what's the difference?
Now, more than ever, we want to preserve what small towns have long held over big cities: safe streets.