Tayler Adams uncoils a fiber-optic cable along Tow Hill Road on Jan. 14, 2016. Crews started laying the buried the cable from Masset to Tow Hill on Jan. 11, the first stretch of a $10 million GwaiiTel-led project to install a fibre-optic internet ‘backbone’ for internet users. (Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

Tlellagraph: Community organizing, Tlell-style

By Janet Rigg

Get ready folks, this is going to be newsy. There’s actually a lot going on in Tlell that requires community support and involvement, so I hope each and every one of my fellow Tlellians is reading this (unless they already saw the news on Facebook). For those voyeurs not of Tlell, I give you a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of wanting to be a well organized, secure, and serviced Wild West.

Gwaii Trust has bestowed upon us the very important lesson that, without community organization, it will not rain money. And so a small group of local citizens has begun to investigate the process by which one can form a community association or commission. We are grateful to learn that Tow Hill was given the same painful lesson, and has already worked towards a solution. We will take this lesson and turn it into an opportunity to connect with our northern neighbours in a show of beautiful inter-community support.

Once such an association is formed, we can use more of the Gwaii Trust Vibrant community funds. In the meantime, we are moving forward with plans to expand the fire hall to create a bigger community space, as community support has already been shown for that project. Other projects can use an eventual Tlell Community Association to get hassle-free access to these funds. Look for notices in the coming months.

I’m told we can’t call it the Republic of Tlell, however, even though we already have the T-shirts.

Now I must tell you about the fibre-optic developments for our rural community. Services, especially internet, are not generally a feature of Tlell. We have hydro, sure, and phone, but the world, generally, did not see internet as such a necessity. Until now. GwaiiTel has secured a huge grant to bring the fibre cable to many doorsteps in Tlell. Many. But not all.

The problem may be that while rural, those not qualifying are perhaps too rural, as there is a population-density threshold for this project.

It is also posited that a rushed application relying on an outdated and incomplete map resulted in this Tlellian dystopia of haves and have-nots. Whether or not that it is true, I feel that all Tlellians want to see everyone connected and, hopefully, this is an issue that some sort of community commission could address — or at least put it on GwaiiTel to figure it out. Our regional district director and MLA have both been notified of the crisis, so our lack of community organization is not preventing us from putting a bit of pressure on GwaiiTel.

In other news, Mike’s Marina opened up at the beginning of the month to much fanfare, and a new, attractive sign. However, there seem to be less and less boats “moored” there. I guess the moorage isn’t so attractive during a strong southeaster.

We also approved glamping, apparently. I can’t help but giggle, having recently binge-watched my PVR’d episodes of HBO’s Camping. The “camping” that provides the backdrop for that hilarious show is a glamping resort. I have no doubt that the Tlell version will be just as entertaining.

Last, and most certainly most important, I give you the dates for the Tlell Christmas Party: Dec. 16, at the Fall Fairgrounds. More details will follow, but there will be a very fun decorating party some time before the dinner. All are invited to help, or simply attend. Hams, turkeys, and potatoes are provided, so we ask that you bring a side dish or dessert to share. This is a great Tlellian tradition, allowing us all to come together whether you like community organization or not, qualify or don’t, hate or love music festivals, and prefer ham over turkey or the other way around.

Feel free to email me at sewnart@haidagwaii.net about any of the above, because I know a little bit about it all, and will be happy to let you know who knows more.

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