Build a university

June 5, 2014 10:21 AM


Re: Letter from Greg Giles and Stafford Lumley presentation to Gibsons council.

Long winters? Please. In a place where it never gets cold, there seems to be little to do beyond what we have — TV, a good book, curling, hiking, cross-country skiing and the occasional movie. Festivals, events, seminars are jammed into “the season.” At other times sailboats stay at the dock; to find serious stuff, it’s the ferry — savior and curse.

Stafford Lumley’s restaurant should be open all year because it’s simply great.

How to support it? Go there. Draw life and attitude to and from the Coast.

The George Hotel won’t open Smitty’s all year or sustain seasonal business; trashing official community plan/zoning and the Gibsons brand will, in my view, harden an already tough case. Condos as second homes or for retirees are no answer.

A local 23 year old, handing me take-out, got it. “The Coast needs a university.”

Marine biology, performing arts, liberal arts, fine arts, film, boat and shipbuilding, First Nations studies. Acknowledge what the Coast has to offer an institution (maybe more than one) — space, coast, the inlet (marine laboratory), rainforest, history, the most dramatic setting and, of course, talent and experience, bottom to top.

Realization will take long-term planning and work while a hotel (adding two restaurants) is favoured by some as a panacea; many perceive it as nothing more than an expedient.

Build a university, build a performance centre, build a marine lab, build a technical school; the hotels will be there too, and so much more. There is immense support on the Coast for this notion, realized all over the world in places lacking the unique assets of the Coast. Whine, say “no” and continue reinventing the wheel. Or, bang the drum slowly, deliberately, keep walking — if you have a vision.

Frank L. McElroy, Roberts Creek

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