Letter To The Editor: Including Urban Transplant as a Species was in “Very Poor Taste”

We received a letter to the editor from G.B. in Invermere, British Columbia, who had some concerns about our “The Kootenays Most (Un)wanted” story.

In Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine‘s Summer 2022 issue, there’s an article by editor Tara Cunningham about the region’s invasive species that incorporates information shared by Erin Bates, executive director of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society. A few people, including the reader below, took exception to the inclusion of “urban transplant” as a species.

G.B. writes:

We have been followers of the magazine since day one and have repeatedly had the magazine at our gallery for circulation over the years and enjoyed many issues….Wow!

But we cannot believe Tara’s article on page 32 of the most recent issue called “The Kootenays most (un)wanted.” Talk about offending both the readers and advertisers with the “Urban Transplant.” Very poor taste and not at all funny. (In case it was intended to be.) What was the intention?

C’mon Tara and Erin. You can do so much better and have done so in the past.

G.B.
Invermere, BC

Tara Cunningham replies:

We’ve received other letters regarding the inclusion of an “Urban Transplant” in the story about invasive species. Before I respond to this specific point, I want to make clear that Erin Bates, who co-authored the article, is the executive director of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society and was instrumental in editing the story, but she was not involved with the urban-transplant entry.

If you’re a long-time reader of KMC, you’ll understand we are an independent publication, we have opinions, and we sometimes take risks. To those who were offended by my urban-transplant description, this was not the intent; we are never trying to malign people. We do, however, occasionally use satire or humour to point out an issue. People are moving from large cities to small towns in unprecedented numbers, changing cultures and economies: not only is it a regional issue, but it’s a national one. We all play a role in our changing landscape. Many of our magazine staff moved from large cities to settle in the Kootenays. We own SUVs and we buy beautiful local art. I believe we need to be truthful about our impacts, and poking fun at ourselves can be a healthy way of acknowledging that.

As always, we appreciate that our readers care enough to take the time to share their thoughts.

— Tara Cunningham, editor

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