The public gazebo in the heart of Roberts Creek, partially destroyed by arson in mid-June this year, is now restored, thanks to generous donors and a committed group of local volunteers.
The cedar posts of the 3.6 x 5.5-metre (12 x 18-foot) gazebo are completely refurbished and a new cedar deck has been constructed. Ed Lands initiated, oversaw and worked on the five-week volunteer operation, which included a core group of volunteers, notably carpenters Frank McElroy and David Groom and labourers John Gibbs, Philip and Akask. All are Roberts Creek residents.
Local businesses eagerly supported the restoration project through in-kind support, sharing of expertise, and donation or discount of materials and services. Those who assisted included Bill Davis of Roberts Creek's Sunshine Mobile Milling; Gibsons Building Supplies; Swanson’s Ready Mix; Randy Johnson and Louise Spencer at Colour Me Randy; Colin Stracker of Weather Tight Supplies; the Gumboot Café; and Edmund Butler.
“This really shows the positive impact when the community rallies together,” Lands said. “This is what Roberts Creek is all about, and it’s exactly what has kept me here for 40 years.”
Donna Shugar, Robert Creek’s director on the board of the Sunshine Coast Regional District, applauds this recent civic-minded effort. “I am sure the community shares my excitement to see the gazebo resurrected and joins me in expressing gratitude to the many community-minded volunteers and donors who made this happen.”
She added, “It is so heart-warming when a community joins together to make something positive out of what could have been a disastrous situation. This is the true spirit of the Gumboot Nation."
It is hoped that the gazebo will soon enjoy ongoing use as a public and performance space, Lands said. “The community taking ownership of this public venue is a significant deterrent to potential vandalism.”
Security lighting and access for people with disabilities are currently under assessment for the structure that stands behind the library on land owned by the Roberts Creek Community Association (RCCA).
Plans are underway to replace the two cedar picnic tables, which were burnt beyond repair. Beautifully crafted, they were built, along with the original structure, by Kevin Stremlaw in 2007 as part of a $14,400 tourism grant awarded to the RCCA. This funding from a B.C. Olympics program helped create a variety of new Creek-based amenities.
So far, no arrests have been made in connection with the gazebo fire, which appears to have been started by an unknown accelerant.