From Delmas Co-op to Haida Gwaii

Masset Tidings by Margo Hearne: Landline phones seem to be going the way of the dodo. The majority of us have cells and everyone texts.

  • Tue Feb 23rd, 2016 6:00pm

Landline phones seem to be going the way of the dodo. The majority of us have cell-phones and everyone texts. It’s a weird word, “texting.” It was definitely a noun at one time (a thing) but now it’s a verb— that is, an action. Well, there you go. Word meanings change all the time; it’s how language and cultures develop. Even the word ‘culture’ has many meanings; from arts to humanities to societies to refinements to civilizations. No one owns words but if we don’t keep up with technology we’re ‘out of the loop’ and don’t know what’s going on. It’s kind of scary, actually. During a past water scare in Masset people were informed through Twitter. Hey, wow! Lots of us drank the water that morning as we prepared for breakfast; many, including myself, didn’t have Twitter so didn’t get a ‘tweet’ about the risk of poisoned water. A risky business. So far, no government or agency has offered to buy me a smartphone and pay the pricey monthly rates.  So I’m keeping my land-line as it will continue to work during our frequent power outages. It could be a life-saver; cell phones need batteries, batteries need charging. No power, no phone.

It was a packed house for the Delmas Co-op AGM last Sunday at the Legion. The Howard Phillips Community Hall had seen a dance the previous night and wasn’t ready for a general meeting. So many signed in that things started a little late, but as we all own the store, the board was mostly forgiven. The good news is that we are out of the red; the mortgage on the new food store was burned in celebration last September. There is a new Gwaii store in the planning stages for Skidegate but there seems to be some delay in getting an agreement from the band council. We were told that a new Gwaii store is needed, as it’s presently so small and cramped that people have difficulty getting around and actually getting to what they came in to buy!

The Masset Co-op store is going great guns, sales were up and the membership list now stands at 3,397. If every member had a vote to appoint the board it would be an interesting event. Presently new members are nominated from the floor at the AGM; with only around 80 people present they represented only a fraction of the membership. An interesting exercise in ownership and democracy.

The Co-op is getting a new name! The original (Delmas) was an amalgamation of the names Delkatla and Masset. It is now going to be known as the Haida Gwaii Consumers Co-operative Association. There was some opposition to the change as we are members of the Co-op, not consumers—we don’t eat it. But there were, apparently, only a few choices the board could make. The name-change motion passed by 55 to 29. Chatting to a near neighbour, she thought it was just too expensive to change the logo and letterhead and all that goes with such decisions.

Questions from the floor included the need to make sure fresh produce is fresh; how there’s too much food being brought in by the fishing lodges in summer that could be bought here. We “are losing millions of dollars because they don’t shop here” said one member. Another requested that the Co-op question the sustainability of the seafood we sell. Some places in the world have “really bad workplace practices” was the comment. “Considering where we live all the seafood the Co-op sells could or should be locally produced.” The management promised to look into it.

MEIDS is organizing Tour Packaging Program for island business involved in the tourism industry. Part Two will be on Feb 20 at the Tlell Fire Hall. Contact 250 559 4499 for more info. Do you have something to include in this column? Email hecatebird@gmail.com