Victoria Beach - The Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach’s campaign to brand the community as a fast-paced, cosmopolitan place in which to do business has been complicated by wolves.
The campaign was intended to attract entrepreneurs to a business community that is anchored by a general store, an Inn that runs on moon power but which never seems to have occupancy and a bakery which sells various forms of lard-based cake. There is also a parking lot.
Councillor Penny McMorris, who is chairing the campaign, says that the initiative is designed to showcase Victoria Beach as a savvy pro-business community that is every bit as fast-paced and glamorous as East Selkirk, Beausejour or Stead. “We want the next Buzzfeed, Google or Schootsiebook to start right here,” said McMorris.
But for many observers, the image of VB as a gleaming media, retail and technology hub is difficult to square with the wolves that are encroaching on the community from the dark woods in which the community sits. Many residents have been woken by the terrifying sound of nature’s beautiful killing machines gliding softly under their cottage windows in the pitch black night – something with which the residents of Palo Alto and San Francisco rarely, if ever, contend.
The community’s mood darkened further last week when the beloved horse, Ajax, was eaten. “Yaaa,” said grizzled local trapper, Ryan Pollard, as he buttoned his denim jacket, “wolves jus’ torn him ‘part. Worst I eva saw."
With nerves increasingly frayed, paranoia, superstition and occultist practices are sharply on the rise. Last Friday night, in a perhaps confused attempt to banish the lupine predators back to the north, Wolf Kraft’s marina was set ablaze by pitchfork-wielding townspeople.
Big name sponsors of the open-for-business campaign have been reluctant to attach their brands to a community in which people have taken to sprinting from cottage to cottage, through the woods, clutching knives and anti-wolf amulets. One executive noted that fostering a technology sector is difficult anywhere, never mind in a place with what he called a “Salem-circa-1690-kind-of-vibe.”
When asked, McMorris recognized the challenge. “A stifling atmosphere of natural menace is not,” she sighed, “generally, conducive to innovation.”