A community initiative has successfully fundraised the costs of creating banners to hang on lampposts in Port McNeill.
The banner beautification project is the initiative of the Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce and the Community Catalysts, who are a group with the goal of maximizing Port McNeill’s potential, as well as property owners and volunteers.
“At the beginning of March, through my position with the Chamber, I was encouraged by Councillor Frost to have a conversation with the Harbour manager about town beautification,” said Chamber Executive Director Gaby Wickstrom, who founded Community Catalysts with Kim Lefebvre and Jonathan Lok from Strategic Natural Resource Consultants.
Wickstrom said beautification is something that has come up quite frequently at Community Catalyst meetings.
After discovering the town did not have funds set aside for town beautification, Wickstrom said the Community Catalysts decided to partner with the Chamber to engage downtown property owners about beautification initiatives.
“At a meeting on April 4th with downtown property owners we had an extremely productive discussion about the future of the downtown core, how we could work together, and what could be done in the short term to do some downtown beautification,” said Wickstrom.
Volunteer and artist Kathy Harder then approached the group with the banner idea.
Harder explained the banners will use colourful photography from throughout the area and include an inspiring a word like “experience” “explore” or “escape”.
Catalyst member Kim Lefebvre then suggested they hold a fundraiser for the banner initiative which became a barbecue at the IGA on May 26.
“Hopefully it will beautify the downtown core parking lot here and add some colour,” said Harder during a Facebook Live video at the barbecue.
The group quickly met their fundraising goal with the support of the community and local businesses.
“Jordan Wills and IGA were gracious enough to donate almost all of the supplies and we raised $970,” said Wickstrom adding, “Within a few short days The Clothes Inn, General Properties, and CAB/North Island Marina contributed another $1000 each – We were blown away!”
Wickstrom noted that property owners also agreed to put up hanging flower baskets to “spruce up the property around their buildings” which can already be spotted throughout Port McNeill.
The group hopes to have the banners installed by mid-June.
“It is a great example of how when we have a common vision and work together, we can accomplish great things,” said Wickstrom.