B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin has thrown her support behind the Pender Ocean Discovery Station (PODS) as an official patron of the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society, the organization behind the project.
“It’s a huge honour for us,” said Michael Jackson, executive director for PODS.
As a patron of the Lagoon Society, Austin provides support and encouragement to the organization, which could include visits to Pender Harbour and inviting Jackson and others to attend gatherings in Victoria. That could create opportunities for the Lagoon Society to forge new connections as they proceed with the project.
The patronage cannot be used to directly assist with fundraising, however, according to the rules guiding the relationship.
Austin agreed to patronize the Lagoon Society, and by extension, PODS, following a lunch with Jackson and others at Blue Ocean Golf Club in Sechelt during her visit to the Sunshine Coast at the beginning of June. “I’m always reluctant to put anybody on the spot, but she was so obviously engaged,” said Jackson of the decision to request the patronage.
The previous lieutenant governor, Judith Guichon, had also served as patron.
“The great thing about Austin is that she has a lot of experience of projects the same sort of size as PODS and is keen to hear more about it,” said Jackson, adding that she “wants to be actively involved in the years ahead.”
Honorary Patronages are a function of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and organizations are typically selected at the start of the term. Austin was sworn in as B.C.’s 30th lieutenant governor in April 2018.
Austin was attending a Vice Regal conference in Ontario and was unable to comment by deadline but communications director Chantelle Krish confirmed “Her Honour is indeed excited about taking on this role as patron and had a wonderful visit on the Sunshine Coast.”