By Cindy Filipenko
A $35,000 provincial grant has ensured that the Winds of Change will remain a living document.
The report, spearheaded by former Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner
and Lil’wat Councillor Joanne John, outlined a number of principles for
creating healthier communities. The Winds of Change report was initiated after
a 15-year-old Mount Currie youth was beaten to death in Pemberton four years
ago after an altercation over alcohol with two older men.
The $35,000 grant, administered under the auspices of the Healthy Communities Committee, has allowed for the hiring of a two women, representing Pemberton and Mount Curie, to develop a series of monthly events designed to bring the two communities closer together.
Lucinda Phillips, a member of the Mount Currie band council who holds the recreation portfolio, and Carrie Turchinetz, a Pemberton ambulance attendant who created the annual Lillooet Lake Toy Drive, were hired mid-April to share the duties of creating and organizing bi-community events.
The first of these will be a slow pitch tournament at Signal Hill Elementary School.
“On Sunday, May 28, the tournament starts at 10 and goes to 4 p.m. It’s a free, fun event for the whole communities,” said Turchinetz. “The tournament features six teams, combined of leaders and recognizable faces from both communities. For example we’ll have Mount Currie teachers and Pemberton teachers taking on a team representing emergency services from both of the communities.”
As well, there will be inflatable centres and craft areas for the kids.
Turchinetz says community response to the round robin event has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“Everyone got on board almost immediately. From day one, people were very excited,” she said. “That’s typical of the area, people are so awesome about supporting anything local.”
The project extends to the end of the year, and organizers plan to produce an event every month that focuses on a different aspect of the joint communities. For example, an elder’s conference, taking in elders from Mount Currie and Pemberton is being planned. The Pemberton Heritage Museum is being considered as a possible venue for the event.
“There’s history from both communities there, from the photos to the old buildings,” said Turchinetz. “It would let everyone come out and share some old memories.”
Village of Pemberton Councillor Jennie Helmer, who sits of the Healthy Communities Committee, is enthusiastic about the program, citing it as the implementation of the Winds of Change.
“We need to do things together, so that when we get together for a joint council meeting it’s because we actually have things to discuss,” she quipped, then adds seriously: “It’s time that we look at recreating, doing business and socializing as one entity.”
On a political level, Helmer hopes the program will open opportunities for working together to create opportunities for both communities, such as those presented by the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. On social and community levels, she sees the events as having the possibility of creating foundations for authentic relationships between the people of both communities.
“I think we have to acknowledge that wherever we’re headed, we’re on the same train.”