A beautification project spearheaded by members and friends of The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Powell River is meant to bring the community together, according to members of the group.
A team of volunteers recently came together to help Rodmay Heritage Hotel manager Chris Tsai brighten up an area behind the building with multiple flower barrels.
“We are just doing a service project because there is so much negativity around, so when we had our last meeting we decided to do a thank-you basket for the RCMP and now we are doing a garden enhancement project for some new people from Taiwan,” said Baha’i treasurer Vicky Pierobon. “It is just a goodwill gesture.”
Pierobon said most of the flowers in the seven or eight barrels came from her own yard, using a combination of perennials that are not yet in bloom, as well as some annuals.
“There are some that are only annuals, like marigolds and stuff, but it won’t be that colourful right now,” said Pierobon. “I’m hoping it’ll be sustainable, which is the whole object of it.”
Tsai has been Rodmay manager since moving from Vancouver in February. He has been working with the owners ever since on a variety of upgrades in and around the building.
“There were many problems here,” he said. “We had to sort it out one by one.”
After meeting a friend of one of the members, Tsai was later approached by a group of Baha’i who were interested in lending a hand with a gardening project.
“They said they wanted to do this gardening thing,” he said. “I thought it was a good idea, so here they are.”
Pierobon said she is also fairly new to the community and COVID-19 has made it difficult for the latest newcomers.
“Chris has only been here since February, and of course he hasn’t been out to meet anyone because of the coronavirus,” she said. “This is all about unity and a welcome to Powell River."
Baha’i secretary Marilyn Carey said the idea for the project came out of a conversation about helping out a new resident.
“It is neighbours helping neighbours and we just thought it was a great opportunity to help somebody who is rebuilding our heritage,” said Carey. “Chris and I walked around and he knows how old the bricks are, he knows where the plaque is, and they are just trying to restore a heritage hotel in Powell River.”
Carey said the beautification project, and recognizing the RCMP for its service, is part of giving back to the community.
“The most important thing within the Baha’i community is unity and service projects, just to recognize who provides services,” she added. “We took the RCMP a big basket of goodies and stress balls to say thanks.
“It’s nice to have some positive outlooks; it is a hard time right now with so much negativity, stress and worry.”
Tsai said he has been left with an impression of Powell River he wasn’t expecting.
“I was kind of surprised when I came here, because I was curious; I had never been here before,” he added. “We are very proud of the history of the building and the heritage. I am thankful.”