It’s January and somewhere, someone is on a diet. Or quitting smoking. Or signing up for a course or exercise program. Or joining a service club like Rotary. Most of us resolve to do something in the new year but many of our good intentions don’t make it past the 15th of the month. Like so many others I’m saying hello to January by saying goodbye to a few (okay maybe it’s more than a few) extra pounds. Right now I’m determined and inspired, but how long will that commitment last? Whenever I embark on change, I find it helps if I take a long term approach. When I read the story about men who knit (on Page 8) I found it interesting that all three learned to knit when they were young. They didn’t pick it up again until they were older, but it stayed with them. My youngest son Alex learned to knit at school. He was 11 and knitted up a storm of dishcloths one Christmas. We were visiting family on the Island and decided to attend a Christmas eve service in Parksville. Alex and Grandma sat in the pew just behind me. Alex insisted on knitting during the service. All was quiet in the church as the pastor paused during a particularly important part of the sermon, until this little voice loudly proclaimed “Shit, I dropped a stitch.” I was horrified. I hoped no one else heard. But when my very-hard-of-hearing mom loudly whispered to my son how to fix the dropped stitch, I knew we were doomed. Knitters and those who love them all have stories but they also have patience. They know it takes time to create a beautiful sweater or shawl or pair of socks. It also takes time for Rotarians to raise money so they can help others but the result of their efforts are evident throughout Powell River. Our Rotary feature (see Page 19) illustrates Rotary’s impact both locally and internationally. Learning a new language also takes time but as Emily Yee explains in Decoding Canada on Page 7, the first thing new immigrants should do is learn English. Emily, who saw her parents struggle with the language while running a restaurant, now works as a business consultant and translator helping new immigrants communicate. Our Page 1 photographer, Rod Innes, also has patience. You need it in spades to capture beautiful wildlife photos like his of the saw-whet owl. Rotary, knitting, learning a new language, photography, and losing weight all take time but they do have something in common. In order to meet your goal in any one of these areas you need to work hard and be committed. What are your goals for 2017? Whatever they are, dig in and stay the course. ~Isabelle Southcott
COMFORT & JOY 2016
The first-ever issue of Comfort & Joy magazine is a celebration of all things Christmas in this coastal city. It’s sweet and saucy just like us! Joseph McLean’s “O Little Town of Powell River” is sure to become a holiday classic (see Page 29). Teresa Rice will make you appreciate your modern sweets (Page 17). And local faith leaders really dug in to their assignment to reach out to non-religious locals with a Christmas message (Page 38). So please join us as we eat too much, gift too extravagantly, sing too loudly, and bake prolifically. Tis the season!
When my kids were little, Christmas dinner consisted of our immediate family, grandparents and whatever aunts, uncles and cousins were available in a given year. As the years flew by and my boys grew, our family changed. We divorced, Grandpa Peebles died and Grandma moved to Comox. My children spent Christmas with their dad and I separately. Now our Christmas dinners include my partner and his family as well. I love my own two children but I also love my three step-children. We might think our hearts are full but somehow they have this ability to expand to make room for more. Vivian Phillips, a server at the Garden Court Restaurant, tells a story on Page 9 that beautifully illustrates how there is always room for one more. She talked about an elderly gentleman and his wife who used to come to the restaurant for Christmas dinner year after year but then, the gentleman’s wife passed away. Another family at the restaurant found they had room for one more. Making room for others in our lives is important. We do it as individuals, and we do it as a community. On Page 40, Powell River newbie Paul Miniato found a whole new social crew when he joined Chor Musica this year (they’re looking for new members!) And Theatre Now’s inclusive mandate showcases that even on stage, there’s room for everyone. Not everyone has lived in Powell River for generations. Some recent arrivals brought large families with them. Other new residents are on their own and have not yet found their tribe. Some have been here for years but still, they find themselves on their own. My Christmas changes a bit every year. My once starry-eyed toddlers filled with the magic of the season, are now young men on the brink of stepping away from the family nest. I cherish the Christmases I have left with them for soon, they’ll have families of their own and Christmas will change once again. Christmas is about love and family, and family, we know, comes in many different shapes and sizes. Some of our family members are related and some unrelated but still we are all connected. For me, the most important thing is coming together and sharing. Do you know someone who is on their own? Someone who is lonely? If the answer is yes, won’t you open your hearts and squeeze the chairs together at the table this Christmas so you can make room for one more? Merry Christmas to all! ~Isabelle Southcott
Help. We all need it at some point in our lives. Receiving help can be a humbling experience, but when we need help, we’re grateful it’s there. Like the boater throwing out a lifeline to the sinking swimmer, that lifeline is a saviour. Sometimes that lifeline comes in the form of food; sometimes it’s clothes or a helping hand. Think of a time when you needed help. Did you let someone know you were struggling? Did someone give you a hand to help you through a particularly difficult time in your life? Hopefully, you were helped and if so, you’ve probably been moved to help others. We all know how good it feels to help someone else. There is no way you can help everyone. But there is a way you can help someone. Just like the starfish story. In that story, a man walking along a deserted beach saw a young boy throwing starfish one by one back in the ocean. He asked the boy what he was doing. “Throwing starfish back into the ocean,” the boy replied. “Why?” asked the old man. “Because they will die if I don’t,” replied the boy. “But there are hundreds of starfish and miles of beach,” said the old man. “You can’t possibly make a difference. You can’t save them all.” The young boy listened politely before throwing another starfish back in the ocean. “It made a difference to that one,” he replied. The original story, by Loren C. Eiseley, is about helping. This issue of Powell River Living is also about helping. It’s the issue that looks at some of problems facing this community’s most vulnerable and struggling people and what is being done to help them. Powell River Living’s Pieta Woolley’s story on Page 6 is about poverty and why it is persistent in Powell River. Other stories, like the Friends of Powell River story on Page 15, tells us that kids are coming to school hungry because they don’t get enough to eat at home. Because of this, two women started Friends in order to help feed hungry kids and buy them the clothes they needed to stay warm, dry and comfortable. Deb Calderon’s story on Page 25, looking at how a super senior gives back, shows that you’re never too old to help others. Not sure where to start helping? Read through this issue of the magazine and be inspired to get involved. ~Isabelle Southcott
We sometimes take small businesses for granted because they just seem to be part of the fabric of Powell River life. So this month and during Small Business Week October 16 to 22, we’re celebrating entrepreneurs – the people behind small businesses. As the owner of Powell River Living magazine, I’m proud to be one of Powell River’s entrepreneurs. I’m also proud to be a director for the Powell River Chamber of Commerce and a lifetime member and cofounder of Powell River Women in Business. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. They risk their own capital to create and run their business. Not everyone can deal with the stress, the uncertainty, and the long hours that come with owning your own business. Just ask anyone who had to close their business. But thankfully, there are still many who like a challenge and are willing to borrow money and risk all to create the great Canadian dream. Sixty years ago Luigi Pagani bought a shoe store. He had experience in the business and a family to feed. One of his sons, Rob, showed an interest in the business and so Luigi trained him. When the time came Rob bought the business from his father. (See story on Page 7.) This month, Pagani & Sons celebrates 60 years of business. Two other local businesses, City Motors and the Patricia Theatre, are Powell River’s oldest small businesses. Their story is fascinating and I invite you to read Ann Nelson’s writing about it on Page 11. Some businesses excel in what they do and the Chamber of Commerce recognizes excellence in business every February with the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. Beginning next month, Powell River Living will include nomination forms in the magazine and we encourage you to nominate your favourite businesses. We’re proud to support the Chamber – and for the first time, to be the official media sponsor of the event. It has been said that you are your business. After 10 years of owning my own business, I believe this is true. Powell River Living has grown and changed and evolved along with my staff. If I’ve learned anything over the years about running my own business, it’s that employees are your greatest asset. When you run a small business, you get to know your employees well and they’re like your second family. So treat them well if you want to live long and prosper. And may the force be with you! ~Isabelle Southcott
You know you’re growing up when your kids start leaving home. My oldest son is heading to Victoria and soon there will be only one child left. One kid to cook for, one kid to clean up after and one kid to shop for. What am I going to do? I’m sure I’m not the first mom to feel both excited and sad as she watches her children grow up and leave home. But it is hard to let go. It seems like just yesterday I was dropping them off for the first day of Kindergarten. “He’s nineteen,” Dwain reminded me gently at breakfast the other day. “You don’t have to ask him if he brushed his teeth and washed his face anymore.” He’s right of course. I don’t even realize I’m mothering, it just happens the same way they just grow up. September is that month of transitions for parents and children alike. For many, back to school means back to routine, back to fitness, back to classes, and back to reality. This issue of Powell River Living is about all the changes we need to make but put off doing. Letting go of what’s not working and trying something different. I had a conversation with school trustee Mary James the other day and she assured me I’m not the first to feel this way. Thanksgiving, she said, will be a benchmark date because I’ll be able to see how my son is faring after six weeks away from home. (I immediately began planning our Thanksgiving menu and then realized it was still August). Change and letting go has been part of Rachel Snyder’s journey this year. After winning a contest at Coast Fitness, she dug deep and found the courage to make some big changes in her life. Her story on Page 25 is inspirational and one that many women will be able to relate to. We’ve devoted an entire section to the Just for the Health of It – Health and Wellness Fair taking place September 24 at the Rec Complex. The fair is part of a movement to increase awareness about health-related opportunities and information so Powell River can become the healthiest community in BC! Our Hello Powell River feature on Page 12 with artist Rick Cepella is also about transformation. After being bitten by a tick and contracting Lyme Disease, Rick’s life changed overnight. This talented artist rose to the challenge of reinventing himself and his art. I don’t know about you but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. I’m hoping September will be kind and have at least a few warm, sunny days so I can do things like the Terry Fox Run or sit on the deck and enjoy a few more barbecues. So enjoy….it will be fall before we know it.. ~Isabelle Southcott
The verdict is in….Powell River is definitely the BEST place to live, work and play! Okay, we may be just a little biased but if you look at all the great things this community has to offer you have to agree. This issue features the winners of our Best of Powell River contest. Voters told us what they liked best in Powell River. You determined the winners in this contest and we thank everyone who took the time to answer the questions in Powell River Living’s and the Powtown Post’s Best of Powell River contest. Hundreds filled out entry forms to weigh in on the best dessert, best ice cream, best dentist, best hair guru, best festival, and even the best lake for frogs! There were also some unexpected answers. None of us here in the Powell River Living office had heard of the business that won second for best blog. Take a look at Tracy Raftl’s blog, thelovevitamin.com. It was featured in Cosmopolitan magazine. And there were, of course, some answers that made us laugh. Best workout: Sex. Best food on BC Ferries: The stuff we bring from home. Best Facebooker: Facebook is evil! Your answers gave us a snapshot of what you like best about Powell River. If your business didn’t win and you think it should, don’t worry; we’ll do this again next year. Take a look at the blurb on Page 23 for ways to get people to vote for you and promote your business at the same time! The festivals continue this month. Hot on the heels of the amazingly successful Logger Sports last month, is Blackberry Festival, Art in the Park, and of course the Sunshine Music Festival on the Labour Day Weekend. Beginning on Page 34, we introduce you to Powell River’s two Syrian families who fled Aleppo after the civil war broke out. We love to celebrate and this year we’re celebrating 10 years of Community Forest in Powell River. The Powell River Community Forest began with a conversation between a city councillor and a local logger. Since its inception, it has put more than $6.5 million into city coffers. Be sure to turn to Page 36 to learn more about how the project benefits this community. Pack your beach bag with a towel and the August issue of Powell River Living and find some time to relax and enjoy the best that Powell River has to offer this summer. ..
June was, without a doubt, a challenging month. It was the month the Devita family (who lost the Texada Island Inn in a fire at the end of May) began figuring out what to do. It was the month Mark Hamilton and Christian Pederson, two young men who’d just graduated, were involved in a terrible accident that irrevocably changed their lives. It was the month two families of Syrian refugees arrived. Although these three events are different, they do share similarities. At the heart of these stories of rebuilding is the common theme of what’s possible with family, friends and community. Almost $20,000 has been raised so far to help the Texada Island Inn’s employees who were left jobless after the hotel burned down. A trust account has been set up at First Credit Union to help Mark and Christian and their families during the boys’ recovery. With family, friends and community, anything is possible. Take a look at Powell River Logger Sports. After an 11-year hiatus, it’s back. July 15 to 17 will see an influx of people who haven’t been to Powell River in years and some who have never been here before, visiting our beautiful city. Logger Sports would never have happened without the help of volunteers. These folks gave selflessly of their time, energy and expertise to bring this tremendous event to Powell River. The same holds true for Kathaumixw, PRISMA, the BC Bike Race, Texada Aviation Week and a number of other events that would not be possible without the sense of community these volunteer share. Without friends, family and community, we wouldn’t be able to bring you three magazines this month. This is the first time we’ve put out three publications in one month and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how we’d do it but we did. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. We were missing in action for part of the time but our families, friends and community were incredibly supportive and understanding and helped us do what we needed to do. Powell River is an awesome place to live, work and play. We have some of the best hiking trails in the world, an amazing arts community, lovely lakes, and beautiful beaches. But in my mind, the best thing about Powell River is its people. You. You are our people and you have the biggest hearts this side of Timbuktu. You care about your family, your friends and your neighbours and you show it every single day. ~ Isabelle Southcott
GUIDE TO LOGGER SPORTS 2016
This all started with a simple phone call. Last year, near the deadline for the Ferns & Fallers magazine we publish, staffer Pieta Woolley called Bob Marquis to ask about Logger Sports. The event used to happen here, she’d heard. What was it? The article was supposed to be just a little historical piece. Instead, Bob threw out a challenge. If 5,000 people say they want Logger Sports back again, he would help revive it. The magazine went out. Associate publisher Sean Percy created a Facebook page, “Bring Back Powell River Logger Sports,” and thousands of people joined. The comments were so encouraging. Bob, who isn’t on social media, would drop by our office to see who was posting what. Last fall, he went to the Canadian Logger Sports Association meeting and lobbied for championship events to happen in Powell River. It worked! Since then, hundreds of people have given their time, skills and money to revitalize this once-world class Powell River event. Laura Passek, especially, has extended her amazing administrative skills to get the ball rolling on the new international competition. As your community magazine, we are so thrilled to be the media sponsor. As a staff team, we’re very excited to see this event happen in our community once again. Logger Sports, like Ferns & Fallers, is a unique opportunity for those who work in the woods to share what they do with those of us who don’t. For Powell River, a town in transition, it’s important to be reminded that the forestry industry is a vital part of Powell River – not just our history – but present and future as well. Logger Sports is tons of fun, too. Muscular men and women, roaring machines, sawdust and action galore. Plus, food to eat, a trade-show to visit, the new amphitheatre to sit in, and a Logger’s Dinner to dance at. If you’ve never been before, come on down to Willingdon July 15 to 17 and enjoy everything this classic Canadian festival has to offer. And if you remember the past shows, we know you’ll be there! ~ Isabelle Southcott
FERNS & FALLERS 2016
I was in Vancouver and Toronto earlier this month, where ‘lumbersexual’ continues to be a thing. Sure, there’s the hipness, hotness, plaid and beards (plus some man buns) – yet these young men are no lightweight fashion icons. Instead, I believe they’re busy revealing a gap between fantasy and reality in Canada’s moral imagination (see Page 46).
Nostalgia for the ‘pristine wilderness’ of the BC coast runs deep among our urban counterparts*. Tourists from high-population Germany and China crave the wild, too.
But the coast’s forests are not pristine, and they haven’t been for 100 years. Whatever ‘pristine’ means, in these dynamic, growing-and-dying, frequent-fire, wind-storm blown, climate-changing, bug-infested woods.
Hike outside a park here, and you’re likely in a forest that was cut and re-seeded itself before 1950. Plus, on your hike, you’ll see new slash, the work of tree-planters, old-growth management areas, and more.
How you feel when you see forestry at work depends on your values.
Editing this issue of F&F, I found myself often distracted by the moral questions the stories raise.
Why did this community kill 30 black bears last year? What will it mean for both bears and humans, if this is the new normal (Page 35)?
Should young environmentalists lobby from outside of industry, or do they make a bigger impact within corporations and government (Page 16)?
And, the big question in this issue: are forestry jobs green jobs (Page 21)?
To some minds, on first glance, forestry is inherently dirty, while its “replacement” industry, tourism, is inherently clean. However, we don’t see the environmental effects of tourism, though they exist (a single round-trip air ticket from the East Coast produces three tonnes of CO2e, for example.) Here on the Sunshine Coast, we do see downed trees – for some, an immediate, gut-level moral wrong.
There are no easy answers to these forest questions. Though I believe we’re all grappling with them, and many more.
Which is why some urbanites are dressing for 19th century lumber camps. And, why this magazine exists – to draw out the ideas our lumbersexual friends are asking implicitly, and address them explicitly with the help of some of those most intimate with the forest: the guys and gals in hi-viz vests.
* For much more about lumbersexuals’ deeper motivations, check out Willa Brown’s excellent 2014 article “Lumbersexuality and its Discontents,” which appeared in The Atlantic.
~ Pieta Woolley
What a difference an ‘S’ makes! I am an Easterner; I was born in Toronto and spent the first 30 years of my life living in Halifax. Yet I recently made the same mistake Westerners make all the time. And I should know better. In a story about Larry Gerow and the Salvation Army published in last month’s Powell River Living, I said that Larry grew up in St. John’s, New Brunswick. There is no St. John’s in New Brunswick! St. John is the largest city in New Brunswick and St. John’s is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador. I apologize for this mistake and thank Mr. St. Laurent for pointing it out.
June 19 is Father’s Day. It is a day to celebrate dads. As every parent knows, giving birth is only the beginning of our journey as moms or dads. We don’t need a license to have a baby, we don’t have to take a course or pass an exam, but the parenthood journey is one filled with learning, challenges and life-changing moments. Charlene Reinisch’s story on Page 7 is a heartfelt essay about fatherhood. Written from a mother’s perspective, she pays tribute to two very important men in her life: her ex-husband and her husband. She talks about how these two men have committed to doing what’s best for the children and how they’ve co-parented a blended family.
For many of us, June is the month in between. It’s kind of like the ready, set month with July being the go month. Because next month, we’re ready to launch into a crazy, busy summer. With big events like Kathaumixw, the BC Bike Race, Logger Sports, Texada Fly-in, the Diversity Festival and Texada Sandcastle Days all happening in July, you might want to recharge your batteries so you’re well prepared before it’s all systems go! Those in the tourism and hospitality industry are looking forward to what could be our busiest summer in a long time as our American neighbours take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and all our amazing community has to offer. And with the outcome of the US election up in the air, some will likely be making contingency plans for what it would take to move to Powell River. With everything from dads to grads to Aboriginal education and the return of the Anderson sawmill in this issue, I hope you learn something new about our community between the pages. Happy reading.
I will never fully understand what it was like to grow up gay because it wasn’t part of my own personal journey but after reading JP Brosseau’s story – “A gauntlet of guilt: Growing up gay in Cranberry in the 70s and 80s,” on Pages 11 and 12 – I feel like I have a better understanding of some of the struggles he went through as a young man.
When JP asked me if he could write this story for Powell River Living, I quickly agreed. I’ve admired his writing and creative talent since we first worked together at The Peak many years ago and I knew his story would be sensitive, introspective and maybe help someone else going through a similar situation.
When we are struggling everything can seem overwhelming. The light is nowhere to be found and everything seems bleak and meaningless. But change, as we know, doesn’t come without challenge.
Life is full of challenges and how we respond to those challenges shape our character. You don’t really know how resilient or resourceful you are until you’re faced with a tough assignment. It is then and only then that everything you’ve learned up until that moment comes into play and you often discover you’re tougher than you think. Our Mother’s Day feature, which begins on Page 8, talks about how being a mom changed the five mothers featured in this essay. I think most moms would agree that having kids changes you for the better. And it doesn’t matter how many kids you have, your heart always has enough room for them all.
Speaking of love, we love Powell River so much that we want to do something to celebrate all that’s wonderful about our community. This month we’re launching the Best of Powell River contest with our partners at the Powtown Post, a website that brings you great stories about Powell River. After you fill out the entry form on Page 13, drop it off at our office and you could win some awesome prizes. Let us know where you can get the best massage, what’s the best tourist attraction, who has the best blog and who is the best server in Powell River!
And finally, this issue has a story about Stan Gisborne and his journey back to recovery on page 21.
Although it might not look like it, Stan’s story is a love story. It’s also a story of hope and of stubbornness.
When the long-time regional director had a stroke during heart surgery in October, he was left locked-in. His family was told he’d never have voluntarily control of anything below his eyes but his stubborn wife Jan and their equally stubborn son Mark refused to accept it. Today, Stan is doing better than anticipated and plans are underway for him to return to his home in Paradise Valley.
You never know the healing power of love and stubbornness!
~ Isabelle Southcott
HOME GROWN 2016
Powell River has a love affair with everything local. It starts with the food we eat and continues with local shopping, local hikes, local markets, local festivals and even local beer! You might want to say that Powell River is a Home Grown community.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that we are isolated. We’ve had to depend on ourselves and our neighbors for long stretches of time so we’ve figured out how to meet our own needs. We got away from that for a while, particularly when it came to food production, but there’s been a resurgence.
There’s nothing sweeter than the scent of local flowers, and we love locally raised meats, eggs, and produce. Most of us prefer locally made jams, jellies and pickles over those that are mass-produced. Not only does local taste better but we like to know who made the blueberry jam we’re spreading on our homemade bread.
People are demanding that local and businesses – grocery stores and markets – carry their favourite local products, responding to consumer demand.
Given a choice, I’d rather support my neighbours and friends than a faceless publicly-traded company. I like knowing that the people I do business with feel as passionately about Powell River as I do and I suspect most of you do too. When you visit a market, people chat with vendors while buying handmade dishcloths or wooden bowls. They form a relationship with these vendors.
Supporting local is much like growing local. You plant a seed, nourish it, watch it grow and then enjoy its harvest.
We have a choice. We can support Home Grown Powell River as much as possible.
Think Home Grown, support Powell River and watch our community grow!
~ Isabelle Southcott
The Powell River area enters a new chapter this month as the Sliammon Indian Band will transform into the Tla’amin Nation.
The April 5 implementation of the Treaty between the federal government and Tla’amin recognizes a self-governing First Nation able to make decisions for itself.
It has an extensive new land base and access to forest and fish resources, as well as the ability to generate revenue. The new nation will have law-making authority.
Chief and Council will transition to become a new legislature, and executive for Tla’amin lands and people.
That will undoubtedly mean a different relationship with other local governments and agencies, and hopefully in a positive way. For all of us, in and outside the Tla’amin Nation, there is an air of uncertainty, expectation, and hope. There’s also more than a little confusion. The Treaty is a complex document that few have read and fewer still understand, and it still doesn’t cover all the possibilities.
More than two decades of negotiations have gone into the making of this new nation. On Page 6, we created a very abbreviated timeline of the progress that brought us to this historic moment. On Page 7 of this issue, Pieta Woolley introduces you to the carvers making poles for the new Governance House. Then on Page 27, we suggest a few other ways that you can get to know more about the Tla’amin Nation. After all, it’s good to meet your neighbours, even if they’ve been your neighbours for a long time already!
One of our goals at Powell River Living is to help our readers get to know our community better, and so this issue, as usual, introduces you to some fascinating characters. In addition to the carvers mentioned above, you will also meet in these pages a 100-year-old environmental activist (Page 12), a woman who fell into rescuing birds and is now helping an animal rescue society take flight (Page 11), a funeral celebrant who wants to have an environmentally friendly burial (Page 13), a compulsive volunteer who helped re-launch Logger Sports (Page 17), a chef who volunteers on the hospital ship Africa Mercy (Page 19), and volunteers who visit and help local seniors (Page 20), and others.
We also meet another of Powell River’s boomerangs (that’s people like me who were born here, moved away and then moved back.) This boomerang is a psychiatrist who just moved here from Halifax (Page 10).
You’d think that we went to great lengths to find all these stories about Powell Riverites doing extraordinary things. But, frankly, that’s the easy part. The biggest challenge we have is choosing which stories to run, which we have to hold, and fitting as many as we can in the limited pages the budget makes available. Thankfully, our advertiser support helped us bring you a 36-page magazine this month. If you want to read many more stories, please support these advertisers so we can bring you more stories in more pages in the coming months.
We love finding, hearing and telling these stories. We hope you love reading them.
The herring are back!
Sometimes, we quibble and hem and haw about what to put on the cover of the magazine. But this was an obvious one.
For nearly 30 years, the herring off BC’s coast were gone due to pressures that range from over-fishing to pollution to climate change. The disappearance and reappearance of the herring is a part of a larger story about BC, that involves a dark period in our history – underregulated industry causing unintended harm.
It’s easy to feel hopeless about the declining state of the environment, or even our collective ability to significantly change government policy. The herring’s return doesn’t mean that dark period of recklessness is over, or that they’ll be back forever.
However, they’re back. It’s a tiny ray of hope. And it’s happening right here, this month.
Not bad, for an Easter-time allegory.
Terry Brown and Jude Abrams contributed stellar photographs. Because herring are such a key species, we think their story (on Pages 6 & 7) should be required reading for anyone who gazes out at the Salish Sea – as we do pretty constantly here.
The herring is just one of many darkness-to-light stories in this month’s issue.
The now-14 million Syrian refugees – more continue to flood out of the country – are considered Europe’s greatest humanitarian crisis since WWII. It’s difficult to look at what is happening within Syria and find hope.
But look locally, and there’s plenty to celebrate. On Texada Island, the United Church and the wider community are working together, and have lined up the money, the paperwork, a home and a job for a Syrian family, which may be here within just a few months.
Similarly, Westview Baptist and Evangel Pentacostal churches have a family identified already – three generations, including grandparents and children.
Powell River’s Catholic, United and Lutheran churches are all in various stages of bringing refugees here. A significant network of support outside the sponsoring churches – including Welcome Refugee Powell River – is gathering steam to help the families when they arrive.
This is no small task, as the story on Pages 9 & 10 shows. Thousands of dollars have been raised; complex paperwork completed; new partnerships negotiated, and volunteers organized.
Tla’amin First Nation is on the precipice of implementing the final treaty – an agreement with the people of Canada we’ve all been waiting on for decades (if not centuries), meaning new independence and prosperity.
Food prices are way up, as our gardening column reminds us on Page 14. But Powell River has its own climate-relevant seed bank, and Seedy Saturday is a’ coming (see Page 26). The dirt is ready.
How do you measure the health of a community? That’s a difficult question and one for which there is no easy answer.
Before we can even attempt to answer that question we need to define health. What does it mean? What does it include? Is it simply being free from illness or injury or does it include more than that?
The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. If you use that broad definition when looking at health (and we do), you include a whole lot more than just the absence of disease or illness.
We need good food and clean water and regular physical exercise to be healthy. We need social support and social interaction. According to Vancouver Coastal Health, the key factors that influence a population’s health include income, education, physical and social environments.
Many reports have been carried out over the years looking at the health of our community.
The My Health, My Community Survey conducted between June 2013 and July 2014 included lifestyle choices such as smoking, screen time and exercise, as well as having a chronic condition, having a family doctor and support from family and friends.
Realizing a multitude of factors influence a person’s health and well-being is a good starting point. Powell River’s Recreation Department, the Powell River Health and Wellness Project, Vancouver Coastal Health and many other groups, organizations and health-related businesses are conversing about what to look for and how to better help our citizens in their quest to improve their health.
Health is a hot topic these days.
As the boomers get older, they are demanding more services that weren’t available for previous generations. In our second annual issue of ZEST we look at a variety of topics that are health-related.
We have many opportunities to improve our health and wellness but often doing so requires a change and as we all know making changes can be difficult.
Our wish for you is that you’re inspired to make those changes you’ve been thinking about when you’re through this issue of ZEST.
I admit that when I first started working at Powell River Living magazine nearly three years ago, I wasn’t sure I fit the mandate very well. Showcasing the best of Powell River? Positive stories? Only write about what happens within the boundaries of the region?
Positivity is not my strong suit. As a journalist, I’m attracted to sensitive, gritty subjects – stories about ethics, conflict, change, and ideas. It’s a headspace that’s served me well as a writer and editor both on staff at various publications, and as a freelancer.
It wasn’t really until I started working on the first issue of Ferns & Fallers magazine, in early 2014, that I realized the genius behind owner Isabelle Southcott’s approach to media.
When reporting on environmental and social issues, I had always lobbed bombs. It’s easy to do. You can break stories by simply reading reports authored by the province’s regulators, or government departments. Or, receiving a brown envelope by an anonymous whistleblower. A toxic spill here. A failure there.
But try cold-calling someone from industry or government, and asking them to speak on the record about this stuff. It’s a sure-fire way to abort what could be a much richer story: “no comment.” It’s also certain to make sure that you, as a reporter, rarely learn anything from those actually working in government or industry.
With that first Ferns & Fallers, that gentler, listening-oriented approach rewarded me with far greater insights into the forest than any official report could have delivered. Foresters showed me what they did. Business managers and owners confided their concerns and struggles. Eureka. Important stories could be told.
The same holds true for Powell River Living, I’ve discovered. Ultimately, stories about the people, animals, land and ideas that are closest to us are the ones that we care about most. But it’s more than that.
Dislocation – the failure to be rooted in a place and a community – infects the 21st century. As our traditional media gets bigger and farther away, those local stories become rarer. We lose touch with each other, the economies that sustain us, the challenges we all face, and the humour that can come from a deep knowledge of each other, and from having a clear sense of place.
I now see that the stories that appear in Powell River Living are absolutely critical to binding us together. Whether it’s Maria Glaze’s Ruby Duck stories and photos, Janet May’s excellent ‘Hello Tla’amin‘ series, Isabelle’s tumultuous turn on hockey skates in this issue, or Ioni Wais’ rich presentation of local harvesting, these are the cures for what ails us.
That said, community magazines such as Powell River Living should ideally be a counter-point to a vital news media, which should regularly hold rules-violating industries and failing government programs to account.
Here at PRL, that’s not what we do. Instead, I’m proud to be part of a team making a new kind of media for a new century. Congratulations, Isabelle, for pioneering it for us these past 10 years.
~ Pieta Woolley
Every new year brings with it opportunities to start afresh and begin again. We are filled with optimism and hope fuelled by the knowledge that we need to change – but often times that need isn’t accompanied by a well-thought out plan or followed up by a commitment and the courage to do the hard stuff.
Change is hard. It’s easier to keep doing what you’ve been doing but when you want different results, something has to change and you need to turn that ship around.
Like many, my journey of change has to do with health and wellness. I’m carrying more weight on this 50-something body than I should and I need to change what I have been eating and how I’ve been exercising if I want different results.
I also want to give myself time to relax which is why I tried a Korean yoga class. See my story on Page 12, and find out what it is. I was particularly interested in this gentle form of yoga because I thought my partner might try it on his road to recovery following a very difficult surgery and health complications. In order to step out of my comfort zone I enrolled in the Rec Complex’s adult learn how to play hockey program which gets underway this month. Stay tuned for how I make out with that!
Like every year, 2015 was filled with highs and lows. Powell River has a lot to be proud of as our story on Page 22 shows.
We don’t get much snow in town but if you head up into the mountains around Powell River you’ll find lots. If you don’t have time or don’t want to experience the fluffy, white stuff in person you can always sit yourself down in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate and read the snowmobiling story on Page 6. And while you’re at it, be sure to check out ice images on Page 26 & 27.
The year ended on a sad note when we learned that 15-year-old Reid Kyfiuk died in a tragic accident at Mount Washington. The family lived in Powell River for many years and was a member of the Assumption School and Church family. The community grieves over his death and prays for his family.
The year also ended with joy, when 13-year-old Maddison White returned to Powell River cancer-free, after an arduous struggle with leukaemia, which included a bone marrow transplant.
What will the new year bring? Last word by Pieta Woolley takes a brave look at the year ahead.
Although it is difficult to tell what’s in store for us, we know that the Tla’amin’s treaty will go into effect April 5, 2016 and it will be an independent nation as Devin Pielle notes in our Hello feature on Page 9.
We can’t predict the future but we can do our best to be prepared for tomorrow and live our best lives possible.
~ Isabelle Southcott
I watched my first Christmas movie a couple weeks ago. It was probably the 27th or 28th time I’d watched It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up on his dreams to help others. It’s Christmas Eve and his imminent suicide brings about the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.
I still cry every time I watch that movie. Call me sappy but there’s something about Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life that makes me emotional.
I think what I love most about It’s a Wonderful Life is how it shows that you don’t have to be rich or famous to make a difference in this world and that we all matter. It’s a simple message but one that is worthwhile reflecting on especially at this time of year.
While many of us feel overwhelmed this time of the year we still look forward to a festive, family affair on the 25th. Sadly, not everyone does. For some, it’s the worst day of the year because they can’t find comfort and joy anywhere.
Imagine how you’d feel spending your first Christmas without a loved one. Imagine dreading Christmas because you couldn’t afford to give your children a nice Christmas meal, let alone gifts. Imagine feeling so depressed about Christmas that you just wanted to forget about it with a bottle of alcohol or drugs.
We can look away and pretend not to notice people who are struggling or we can help. I’ve been on both the giving and the receiving end of the helping chain. When my partner had heart surgery in October there were unforeseen complications so we ended up staying in Vancouver for a month and leaving the teenage boys home alone. I was worried about Dwain and worried about the boys but I needn’t have been. I live in Powell River and because I live in such an amazing community, friends and neighbours, made sure they had real food to eat. All these people made a difference in our lives, just like George Bailey made a difference in the lives of people in Bedford Falls.
We hope the stories in this issue fill you with comfort and joy as you read about the spirit of giving.
When Logger Sports returns in July after a 10-year hiatus, volunteers will create an amazing event showcasing forestry and putting Powell River back on the world championship logger sport circuit. When volunteers cook three different community Christmas dinners this month they do it because they want to help others. When people like Norm Hutton (see story on Page 11) build dollhouses and donate them to organizations so they can raise funds by raffling them off, they do it because they care.
Caring for animals drives Susan MacKay to rescue marine mammals and recently, bear cubs (Page 13.) And if you care about animal welfare, don’t give someone a pet on a holiday whim, says SPCA manager Brandy Craig in her story about pets for Christmas on Page 12.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Last year, a man knocked on our door in late November. My son David, then seven, answered it. The man was tall, lanky, and disheveled. He wondered if we had any jobs we needed done.
We were, as usual, just rushing around, trying to get out the door to go do something. So I apologized and said that we didn’t, but he should come back. We never saw him again.
David was distraught. Why was the man looking for work? Why did he need money? Why didn’t he have money? Did he have food, and a home? Was he homeless? I answered his questions the best I could with multiple “I don’t knows.” He sobbed. David needed to do something. He needed to help.
It’s an instinct I’m proud of, in my boy. Needing to help. He worries when he sees school friends without lunches, and people in Vancouver who are clearly street-involved. As he grows up, I’m sure his instincts will morph into a more nuanced understanding of wealth and poverty, and social justice.
Life can, of course, happen to anyone. A disability, a family break-down, an addiction, a job loss, a mental illness, a political upheaval – the line between the “haves” and the “have nots” is a fine one, and can be crossed by anyone, at any time.
Here in Powell River, we’re blessed with excellent agencies and initiatives that excel at helping the more than 1,200 locals who depend on welfare and disability assistance, and others who find themselves in need.
In this issue of PRL, we focus on helping. We’ve profiled the Community Resource Centre’s food programs (Page 7), and published a round-up of some of the charitable initiatives happening this holiday season (Page 10). Some require volunteers, others money – and some are just plain fun, such as the new Santa Train event, which will raise money for the Powell River Food Bank.
Publisher Isabelle Southcott wrote about three Italian families who left impoverished Europe after WWII, for a better life in Powell River (Page 13). In a personal, poingant memoir, local senior Elisabeth Von Holst shares how the scent of apples always reminds her of her own childhood hunger (Page 15), and the contrasting feeling of being blessed with enough. And Jack Anderson calls our attention to the upcoming climate talks in Paris, and invites us to march on November 29, for climate justice – an issue that disproportinately affects vulnerable people worldwide (Page 31).
Helping, of course, feels great. Just as David discovered, the cure for feeling intense compassion, or the sting of injustice, is to do something that makes life better for other people. Whether that’s a offering bowl of soup, sponsoring a refugee, or marching for stricter environmental laws.
~ Pieta Woolley
My 18-year-old son is excited about being able to vote for the very first time in the upcoming federal election. For weeks, he’s been reading on the candidates and talking about their platforms and the issues with his friends. I’ve had some good conversations with Matthew about the election, his concerns for the future of this country and who he will likely vote for. His best friend voted in an advance poll before heading off to UVic last month.
When I told my son I was proud that he was going to vote he looked surprised. “Of course I’m going to vote Mom,” he said. “Not voting is inexcusable.” Before I could say another word he continued by saying, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
Moments like these are turning points. This election will be the first time that my son has been old enough to vote and vote he will. I am proud that he feels the way he does about voting but not everyone does. According to statistics, the highest federal voter turnouts were in 1958, 1962, and 1963, all over 79%. The lowest voter turnout was 58.8 % in 2008.
To learn more about the candidates running in the upcoming federal election on October 19, go to page 16 & 17. To hear them speak in Powell River, be sure to attend the all candidates debate put on by the Powell River Chamber of Commerce on October 5 at the Evergreen Theatre.
Although the election seems to dominate life this month, it isn’t the only thing happening in Powell River. Bears seem to dominate most coffee conversations these days. See Francine Wilmen’s story on Page 7 for help in reducing human-bear conflicts.
It’s also Small Business Week October 18 to 24. There are over a million small businesses in Canada. They make up 98.2 per cent of employer businesses. Small businesses are both the backbone and the heart and soul of Powell River’s economy.
I’ve spent the last 25 years working for and owning a small business. During that time I’ve come to realize that employees are a small business’ most important asset. Think about it. Your sales people, receptionist and cashiers are the face of your business. Customers might never meet the manager or CEO, but they will deal with front line staff regularly. Investing in your staff is, in my mind, a business owner’s best investment.
Small businesses often operate on a very tight margin and can’t afford to pay the same wages as large businesses – but they can offer flex time, employee discounts, and bonuses.
Yes, small business is the backbone of the local economy, and employees are the backbone of small business, which is why investing in your employees is one of the smartest moves a business owner can make..
COVER: Our cover photo this month is of one of the bears hanging around the Lang Creek fish sorting facility. The photo was shot by Sean Percy.
~ Isabelle Southcott
When my 16-year-old son Alex told me he wanted to be airlifted off Tin Hat Mountain partway through an epic 30-plus kilometer hike he was doing with his friend Joe, I told him to hang on, it’s character building.
He didn’t see the humour in my words, any more than I saw the humour in them 30 years earlier when my father shared them with me.
Challenges like your first big hike (see story Page 22) are about more than simply checking off the box on your to-do list. Exploring the beautiful Sunshine Coast Trail and discovering what exists in our own backyard is amazing, but hikes, marathons and other physical challenges are about much more than simply reaching the finish line. They’re also about the journey of self-discovery we make along the way. They are (yes Dad, you were right) character building because they’re fraught with challenges like running out of water, hiking in the pouring rain, and being so exhausted that all you want to do is fall asleep on the trail with a 50-pound-pack on your back.
These challenges test your character and patience but they also help prepare you for other more important challenges you will face later in your life. We will all be challenged at some point. Some, like young Cooper Jones and his family, are challenged more than others. But the measure of a person isn’t merely about the challenges they face, it’s about how they handle them. As I read through the Terry Fox run story on Page 9, I was struck by how the Jones family made the best of what was obviously a very difficult time. They were filled with love and gratitude for all the good things that happened after they found out their Cooper had a tumour.
Maintaining a positive attitude is also important as students head back to school this month. They’ll be facing all the challenges, uncertainties and anxieties a new school year brings but there will also be rewards and many, many, opportunities too. When you’re able to stay positive and remain grateful, your outlook changes.
Everybody will face obstacles and be challenged to different degrees by life but those who face their challenges with integrity build character along the way.
COVER: Our cover photo this month is professional model and actress Emily Bruhn, who was back in her home town for a few days in August. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions. The photo was shot by Pieta Woolley
~ Isabelle Southcott
I LOLed when I read Vienna Romalis’ description of her photo shoot with live animals (Page 15) in a rainy forest in China. The teen model and Powell Riverite vividly reveals the chaos and creativity – and sometimes, courage – behind Asia’s intense fashion scene.
It’s the kind of story I like the best in PRL. First, it’s light, and funny, and told by a local. And second, it transports readers into a perspective that’s completely different from the languid casualness of sunny, summery, ocean-side Powell River.
Vienna’s is not the only story about Powell Riverites in China this month. Shannon Behan, who was recently promoted to Principal of International Programs for School District 47, spent the past year in China as principal of the Sino Bright Beijing campus. On Page 9, she recounts how much she loved her time in the 21-million-strong, hyper-diverse, historic city. She also pointed out the district’s goal of a much greater relationship with China.
This is good news for Powell River. So far, much of the relationship has, on the surface, seemed one-way: students arrive here, and Powell River hosts and educates them. But, as anyone with half an ear to the ground knows, the wider relationship between Canada and China is already deep, and growing.
As a mom with two young kids in SD47 schools (back to school September 8!), I’m excited that the district is pursuing the relationship. Edmonton’s schools have offered Mandarin immersion programs for nearly 30 years; 2,000 students there are learning the world’s most-spoken language (next is English). In Vancouver, Mandarin is now offered at several schools. And, various faculties at UBC and SFU offer semesters in China as an obvious part of a rounded, 21st century education.
Like Vienna and Shannon, I hope my kids grow up to be comfortable overseas and courageous enough to jump in and make their dreams happen wherever that may take them.
Roots and wings. That’s the promise of raising kids in Powell River. And the unofficial theme of the August issue of Powell River Living.
~ Pieta Woolley
FERNS & FALLERS 2015
Imagine for a minute that you’re the editor of a magazine about forests & forestry. Just in time for the second annual edition, a monumental conflict breaks out in the middle of the region, where chainsaws are severing tall Douglas-firs and cedars from their roots, in de-facto city parks (see Page 38).
If this were a different town, you – or I – might want to hide under a blanket. But here, it’s all good.
Why? Because this region is really, really good at nuance. On the upper Sunshine Coast, we have a wealth of collaboratively-oriented, complex-thinking leadership that makes my job easy. Judi Tyabji, Wayne Brewer, Eagle Walz, Stuart Glen, Dave Formosa, Patrick Brabazon, Jane Cameron, Erin Innes, Nola Poirier, Russ Brewer, the Fuller brothers, and many others all live here. When situations get hairy, we’ve got smarties to lean on.
The conflict over Lot 450 helped sharpen my vision for this publication, too. Last year, just getting basic information out about the Sunshine Coast’s biggest industry felt like an achievement. This year, the publication is closer to its potential: a hyper-local salon with a mission to deepen our shared understanding of the forest, and to connect people across perspectives. Yes, the ads are mostly from forestry companies; they, of course, alongside everyone else, have a genuine interest in furthering and deepening conversations.
I am particularly grateful this year for the trust and patience of Torrance Coste, a campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. He was willing to risk unpopularity by advocating for a ban on raw log exports in a region dependant on big forestry – which resists a ban for reasons which are now obvious to me, and worthy points. (see Page 30).
A danger of the Internet age is that we hunker down in our ideological factions, and only engage with publications we’re sure to agree with – whether that’s emails from the Dogwood Initiative, or The Economist app. Both contain excellent journalism, but there’s something worth preserving about the commons, too.
If there’s one thing everyone can agree with, it’s that BC will be better off when we collectively add more value to the wood we harvest. If you’re entrepreneurial at all, I encourage you to read the profiles in the main feature of the magazine (starting on Page 16) and get dreaming. Theoretically, there’s support out there for you.
~ Pieta Woolley