I held him, and he held me, and we were still holding each other when he spotted a skein of geese flying overhead. “Look!” he said. I did not release my hold.
“November,” I said.
“Yes. Not winter, not fall. I’ve always liked November.”
― André Aciman

As the autumn gives way to the winter, I find myself writing my last newsletter as President of the Community Hall Association. The Annual General Meeting will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th in the lower hall and will elect a new president and board. Please consider joining us for the AGM which will be followed by the usual tea, cookies and conversation.

I committed to one year in this position – a year that has passed by very quickly, but which has seen some exciting projects completed – new gutters, the new flat roof, new windows throughout, a carefully thought-out business plan, another hugely successful Salmon Barbecue – and not least – several steps forward in working with the RDN to become the south island’s Emergency Reception Centre. Thanks and gratitude are due to the RDN’s Community Works Fund, The Gabriola Lions Club and our many individual donors. Also, a special thanks to Vanessa Craig, Catherine Morrison and others for their encouragement and support on the ERC project.

As usual, the Hall has been the venue for some spectacular events. Trivia Night on November 2nd was a huge success. And as Christmas draws near, other major happenings include the Gabriola Players’ pantomime (Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves) on November 29th, 30th and December 1st; a performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Saltspring Chamber Orchestra and Choir on November 23rd; the Island Singers’ Christmas Concert on December 8th; the Christmas Craft Show on December 14th; and many more. All to prove that the Hall is an invaluable part of the Gabriola mosaic.

Since this is a kind of farewell (for the time being), I would like to thank those of you who have made donations to our various projects – particularly the “Raising the Roof Campaign”. Also, to the legions of volunteers without whom so many events would not have been possible. I have enjoyed the feedback from these newsletters which has proved to me yet again that this really is a COMMUNITY Hall. I know that your dedication will continue in the years ahead.

I can’t end without a final thank you to some people with whom I have worked closely and who, behind the scenes, transform the Hall from being just a building to being a place where islanders can celebrate, enjoy music, play sports, meet – and simply relax. I mean of course, Tsiporah Grignon who welcomes our renters; Yvonne Churchill, who keeps us clean; and Mike Pelzer who is our “Mr. Fixit”. And also, of course, the Board’s Executive Committee: Hank Reid, Elizabeth Iachelli and Laurie MacDonald who did their level best to keep me out of trouble.

Lang may all their lums reek! You guys rock!

Peter Jones
Community Hall Association