Our March 9th meeting was well attended with 20 adults and 1 child. The meeting began with personal introductions and a thought provoking round table question– What did you find on Pender that you didn’t expect? The answers were delightful and gave us a few chuckles as well. The Newcomers love the medical system here and were surprised at how professional and modern the clinic is. They also appreciate its friendly and efficient medical and administration team. The well stocked library also received a number of accolades as did the well stocked Winery. We laughed about “Pender Time” – it is and isn’t funny depending on how and when you look at it. It was a consensus that organization for a visit to the Big Island is a must. Minute to minute planning may still not be enough to get to the 2:15 ferry on time. Forget about the comfortable lunch and glass of wine you had in mind.
We were fortunate to have two terrific speakers on hand to tell us about their island projects. Diane Swindell from the Community Garden group (Pender Organic Garden Society) enlightened us on the joys of gardening on Pender Island. Yes it can be difficult, hard work, time consuming but very rewarding. The Community Garden group has been active now for about 10 years. The land that the gardens are on has been donated for use by Karl Hamson. The gardens have 22 full plots and 3 half plots. The soil is spectacular and can be well nourished by the sheep that roam close. The gardens are well fenced and a large pond is available for water. The group of individual gardeners have many different garden styles which make things interesting as they learn from each other. There is one plot set aside for growing food for the Pender Island Food Bank which is well appreciated. If you are wanting a plot there is presently 7 or 8 people on a waiting list but don’t despair get your name on the list through Diane.
Our second speaker was Shirley LePers from the Pender Islands Lions Club. The motto of the Lions is “WE SERVE” and do they ever in so many ways. Nearly every group and project on the island has benefitted from the Lions contributions . The largest Lions Club project was the organization and managing of the construction of the Medical Clinic which was a huge community undertaking (the Medical Clinic is now managed by the Health Care Society). Other projects were the Ambulance and Paramedic startup and construction of the Helipad. Lion’s funds have been donated to a number of organizations: the Library, Community Hall, various sports groups, and playgroups. Funds have also been given to those who need accommodation in Victoria or Vancouver at Easter Seal House or Jeneece Place. They also provide approximately 15 bursaries to those seeking higher education. Vision and Hearing are two of the Lions Club major focuses. You will soon hear more about the Lions Vision Screening Program the newest Lions project. The Lions do so much in our community and they would warmly welcome new members to help with their endeavors.
A short business meeting ended our group session.