Dear Editor

On the heels of our very successful presentation by the Grizzly Valley Players (adult drama group), I wanted to write to the people of Tumbler Ridge and let them know how far reaching the closure of Claude Galibois is.

We live in a society that sometimes thinks only of what affects them directly and while I am not usually bitter and this is not my usual method, I am taking the same liberty, as the whole start of this unfortunate mess was likely the result of pure disregard for the greater good. The fallout should be causing sleeplessness in those responsible for it. I am guessing certain jaded individuals are not losing any sleep. Shame on you.

We have no other affiliation with Renaissance Canada, religious or otherwise, other than using the space within their building. This group was kind enough and showed such generosity in allowing us space for our props and costumes, as well as rehearsal space. I am now organizing a work party to throw away almost all of our treasures. This includes all items used for both the children?s and adult drama groups.

It also includes beautiful, one of a kind creations hand crafted and painted by the unbelievably talented Claudia Hunter. She made paper mache come to life for the drama groups over the past several years, an Evening of Performing Arts ( a NLC Grant initiative) as well as one year for the Grads. The effort and results of these creations is immeasurable. But they are large and there is nowhere to keep them. Not enough basements, not enough space at the community centre and so to the dump they go. It BREAKS my heart to see such WASTE.

Understandably, people have no idea the work that goes into productions of these kinds. We commonly have to pay out more money than we bring in and with this recent turn of events, we will, of course, be unable to keep the on-hand things for our next production. I am extremely proud that our group does these things as a labour of love for the community and we appreciate the wonderful support we get in response.

And of course, we are not alone. There are others who will be left homeless by the closure. And I ask this question of the majority of people who are so affected by religious bias, incredibly misinformed or disinterested in finding the truth beneath all the rumours?.if School District 59 was behind this to the point of applying for the rezoning application when Mayor and Council wouldn?t ? then why are the same members of Council so vehemently against it? And trust me, it is the same members.

I feel great compassion for the other elected officials whose job has become simply to stave off the harmful decisions made by the others. So even though the town has a buzz of disharmony about Council as a whole, I would ask residents to understand that if the whole lot of them were up to no good, then we would be in far worse waters than a standstill. But I?m sure none of these elected officials expected to be held at bay on any of the issues of importance to them, and yet the residents are. I am a volunteer for groups mainly to do with arts and culture. And we have seen recently how ?visible volunteers? and ?respected institutions? are getting the short end these days. Forgive my emotions, it is hard to part with a dream.

Again I return to the joylessness of those who are self-serving. We all do it, to some degree. But this all could have been avoided. What hatred this speaks of, to allow a potential thriving facility to enhance this community just boarded up. Well, at least somebody got what they wanted ? and that?s what it was all about. For it was never about the greater good. By the way – anyone want to help us throw away our drama possessions, as well as pack up the Thrift Store?

Erin Hanna,

Theatre On The Ridge Director

Grizzly Valley Players Director

TR Community Arts Council President