Avola resident says thanks for schoolhouse renovations

There was a learning curve, for sure. Maybe a learning curve for more than just me

Editor, The Times:

As a delegation at the June, 2013, Thompson Headwaters services committee meeting I remember speaking about fear, hope, creativity, trust and how communication would make possible a positive decision-making process concerning plans for renovations to the TNRD-owned Avola one-room log schoolhouse.

I was afraid to speak, but hoping the committee would listen.

Afraid the past would be irreparably damaged, but hoping it would be preserved.

Afraid of their authority over us, but hoping we could cooperate and learn from each other.

Inexperienced, anxious, with tension and frustration as some avenues of communication were blocked, people attempted various forms of communication. Letters, petitions, email, phone calls expressed requests from several residents, former residents and descendants of former residents asking that decisions be made by the THSC towards keeping the building as much as possible as the original one-room log school house.

It was an agonizingly long nine months to wait for the results.

By March, 2014, the 2013-2014 work on the interior and exterior of the Avola Log School House was complete, incorporating many of the suggestions we offered and avoiding the damages we feared. It is disappointing that Heritage Status was not considered. However, now that we can see the final result: the building still has much of the essential one-room log school house elements that we in Avola value.

And so, the time has come to address the THSC as a delegation once more, to say “Thank-you” to all of you: Area B director, services coordinator, the committee members and contractor.

It seems that they did listen. And improved communication links have been put into regular practice: open houses to seek input from residents before decisions are voted on by the THSC, monthly coffee houses with face-to-face dialogue with the director, mail-outs alerting residents of upcoming dates and ways to become involved, minutes and agenda information posted on the Blue River web page.

As a brand-new Canadian citizen, this was my first ever involvement with politics. There was a learning curve, for sure. Maybe a learning curve for more than just me.

Eleanor Deckert

 

Avola, B.C.