In early November, I was sitting at a table in a café in Revelstoke. It was quiet and two men sat down at the table behind mine. I heard them talking about the resort development that has been consuming Revelstoke over the past 10 months. One of the men commented on the locals’ attitudes and how most didn’t understand what a great opportunity it was because they had never been anywhere outside of the community and just didn’t like change. They began discussing the problem of where to put the people who would be working at the resort. The lack of housing and affordable accommodation had hit Revelstoke over the past five months and had been a constant focus in the local newspaper. The same man that had commented on the provincial attitude of the locals said he felt that Revelstoke’s solution for affordable housing was to use Malakwa to house those who couldn’t afford Revelstoke anymore.
Malakwa is 52 kilometres west of Revelstoke on a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway that is busy in the summer and often treacherous in winter. The road is closed on and off in the winter due to avalanche control and sometimes rock slides.
We had been inundated with glossy real estate ads of the resort village that was being built and sold along with a lifestyle of luxury and privilege. I imagined a poster selling Malakwa with same slick PR. A poster that would draw people in. So I made this poster. Malakwa means Mosquito in Chinook so I used a mosquito wing for the backdrop of the top of the poster. I put some up around City Hall but they were taken down a few hours later. I have a few others around but they get taken down and I quietly replace them knowing they won’t be there the next time I look. Besides it is hard to poster with the snow starting to fall, destroying the posters hours after they go up. But the snow is what has brought the resort to Revelstoke in the first place.