North Islanders came through in a big way this year as the 33rd annual Gazette Hamper Fund drive wrapped up with deliveries of Christmas hampers Dec 22.
In all, local residents, businesses and service organizations contributed more than $31,500 and filled 558 hampers with food and toys to bring a happy holiday to needy North Island families.
Donations that began trickling in as early as October peaked in a tsunami of cash and cheques in the final weeks.
The ‘Namgis First Nation became the latest signatory as the Province of British Columbia and the Nanwakolas Council renewed a resource-sharing agreement covering 4.5 million hectares of Northern Vancouver Island and the adjacent coast.
Chief Bill Cranmer and a contingent of singers from the Alert Bay band attended the signing ceremony, held at the B.C. Legislature.
Ten months after hosting a huge community party for the CBC television program The Big Decision, Hardy Buoys Seafood has seen a big boost in business.
But the program had only an indirect impact on the company, and owners Bruce and Carol Dirom still have mixed feelings about their involvement with the program and investor Arlene Dickinson, the show’s host.
The Big Event was organized by the Diroms and drew more than a thousand people to the Civic Centre in February for free seafood samples, entertainment, a pizza-baking contest and a glimpse of Dickinson, the CBC ‘Dragon’ who was taping an episode ostensibly to determine if the company was worthy of her investment.
But after initially saying Hardy Buoys did what it needed to do, Dickinson went mum after the show aired in early April.
“As far as what’s happened from the Big Event itself, there’s nothing really from our end,” Carol Dirom said. “We were totally interested in pursuing an ongoing relationship with Arlene Dickinson, but we never heard back from them.”
The BC Centre for Disease Control warned the public not to consume various shellfish and seafood products from a private distributor in Port Hardy because of the risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning and botulism.
The products were for sale online and through a Buy and Sell ad on www.buyselltrade.ca but may have also been distributed through other mechanisms.
School District 85 kicked off a tour of local communities designed to gather public input on its strategic plan and the makeup of its board of trustees at North Island Secondary School in Port McNeill.
“It’s about moving the District along in a transparent way,” said School District 85 Superintendent Scott Benwell. He explained that, by getting a sense of the public’s expectations and priorities, the board will be better equipped to create a tailored vision for education in the coming years, and a plan of action to deliver the mutual vision.