Teething problems, politics at crux of hall names situation

“He called the incident “bizarre” and “nonsensical,” and also attributed the situation to the hall’s “teething” problems.”

December 29, 2014

Pender island has one of the most beautiful community halls, certainly in the Gulf Islands, or anywhere. It made of logs that have been left exposed on the outside and inside. It has been a few years since I have been there but I seem to recall that the logs are blonde in colour. In front of the hall is a totem pole built by a Pender resident who is acclaimed for his work.

There is much beauty on all of the Gulf Islands but that which is created by people does not come together easily. Committees breed controversy and the most members in a committee, the more controversy.

Looking in from the outside or from the prospective of a few years down the line, an article describing one such controversy might make the reader think the people involved were quibbling over nothing. The reader might even get more than one chuckle out of reading about the disagreement

Having lived on one of the Gulf Islands (Salt Spring Island) for 16 years and having had the pleasure of visiting many of the others, I can assure you that you really have to be there to understand why these debacles are the result of people’s heartfelt views when it comes to being stewards of the islands.

Here is the article:

Gulf Islands Driftwood: Pender Islands Edition

June 28, 2000

Teething problems, politics at crux of hall names situation

by Tanya Lester

It took a while for Jim Lepard to calm down after he was told by Peter Emmings his business name would be removed from the bottom of the community hall doors.

Then he remembered why he donated the wood in the first place.

Lepard was told a brass plate would be placed over his company names, as well as Dave MacKenzie’s, who made the doors, and Lyle Hamer’s, who engraved the designs– and those three names — on the doors.

Lepard said he was told that everyone’s names currently appearing on any part of the hall will be removed, including the names of people who carved the poles.

If it was a matter of some people feeling left out, Lepard said, he would have every volunteer name engraved on a plaque.

His suggestion was met with the response that a book listing everyone who has volunteered on the hall is being compiled.

Both Lepard and Hamer put the whole thing down to island politics.

Hamer said politics are “just a part of everyday life” on the Penders. He called the incident “bizarre” and “nonsensical,” and also attributed the situation to the hall’s “teething” problems.

What does irk Hamer is that some people have been talking about his engraving work not being art because he used a machine to produce it. He explained it took them weeks to do it and up to $5,000 of time and materials were donated.

Hamer cautioned that any changes to the doors should now be done carefully. When they were first put in, he said, they were “chopped” down to size, which resulted in added repair work for MacKenzie and himself.

Now that Lepard is no longer angry, he has been thinking about what originally motivated him to donate the wood. He said the wood was from a 500-year-old tree where an eagle had nested. It was felled, two years after the eagle was last seen nesting there, because it had started to rot.

Instead of using it for firewood, Lepard and others thought it would be more fitting to use the “sacred” material as part of the community hall structure. A ceremony was performed in honour of  the wood before it was moved to the hall site.

Peter Emmings had no comment on the matter.


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