Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 12, 2011.
I think it says a lot about a community when you have sixteen volunteers willing to take several hours out of their busy day in order to meet and collectively work on a project that will be of benefit to their community.
That is exactly the reality yesterday in Peachland, where I was happy to meet with his worship Mayor Keith Fielding, other community leaders and volunteers that represented a variety of different Peachland user groups. I would also like to thank the Peachland Chamber of Commerce for arranging and hosting this productive meeting.
Peachland has a bat problem, only it is not the type of bat problem that you might think it is. As I learned yesterday, we, as a society do not have much knowledge about bats. However they are actually a very fascinating subject and it just so happens that Peachland has a 103 year old school-house with an attic that is full of them. In fact, it may well be one of the largest Yuma bat colonies in the entire Province!
Peachland has been trying to save and restore this heritage school-house when the bat colony was first discovered in the attic. What at first posed a problem has since become part of the solution. The opportunity to provide a living bat colony for educational purposes is an important and rare one. At the same time, the need for Peachland to accommodate important community services such as the Boys and Girls Club (as one example) is also much-needed. Fortunately with all of the user groups working together including many volunteers, a shared vision has emerged that I believe is a very innovative one.
Like most things, money is required to make this project a reality but it must be noted that many materials and labour has already been graciously donated and other funds and sponsors identified.
At this point it is unclear what future grant opportunities will be available to help the community of Peachland but this a great project and one I will be going to bat for on Peachland’s behalf. I will also like to thank Wayne Power, a local Peachland artist who was kind enough to present me with a beautiful sketch of the Peachland School House that will soon adorn my office walls in Ottawa and help resolve my BWS (Bare Wall Syndrome) problems!
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about the bats of Peachland, stay tuned to www.peachlandbats.ca as the site will soon be live!
Thank you again to all who attended for their thoughts, questions and input. I certainly learned a lot!
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