EDITORIAL: Spending now will save later

Cost of upgrades to rail line will be worth it in savings down the road.

Given the rising cost of food, fuel and everything else, there’s perhaps no better place to be next weekend (April 16) than the Wild Foods Festival organized by the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust.

The premise of making delectable dishes out of the natural abundance existing everywhere around us is hardly new, but today’s considerable economic challenges just might be what it takes for the notion to gain traction.

Oddly, as a society, we just can’t seem to grasp that what’s already right in our backyard might be what’s best for us.

In terms of food choices, the vast majority of us simply ignore the many delicious and free items available to us (if we’re willing to educate ourselves and get off the beaten path just a bit) in favour of regular, costly trips to the supermarket.

We could do ourselves a world of good if we’d just open our minds enough to shift our paradigm about what is and isn’t acceptable and safe in terms of food.

But this idea goes far beyond what we choose to eat.

Look no further than the old E&N rail line for another prime example.

Here we have an infrastructure corridor with enormous potential as a transit alternative. With an infusion of $15 million to update the tracks (which the taxpayers already own, through the Island Corridor Foundation), the Island could easily have a viable commuter transit option that could, and likely would, reduce by tens if not hundreds of millions the never-ending investment our highways demand.

The long-term savings would far outweigh the short-term cost.

Either way, the costs are ours to bear. Spend a little to save a lot. Or simply keep spending a lot.