2008 has been quite a year at the Chapel Island Mission! Even after a couple of hundred years of annual gathering on the Island, there is still work to be done. This year, UINR’s Laurie Suitor coordinated a team of students, community volunteers and staff to continue the recycling and sewage efforts from last year, while initiating a number of new projects.
Joining Laurie this year was a core team including Barry Bernard, John Johnson, Dennis Nevin, Clark Paul, Ekkian Lafford, Emma Johnson, Tobias Doucette and Keenan Bernard. Workers from Eskasoni took time from their regular projects, and other community members volunteered their time to help meet the Mission’s environmental goals.
“It is gratifying to see how much this project has affected youth. Without them we could never have moved forward” Laurie explains. “They brought a spirit to the work that has inspired others, and we are very grateful for all of the community support.”
Work starts long before the Mission begins. Old waste dumps were cleared behind and between cabins and damage from fallen trees from last year’s storm was repaired. Emergency service roads and seven new, small roads were constructed and used this year for emergencies and garbage pickup.
During the Mission there were daily garbage runs and special containers provided for propane tank disposal and recycling. Tons of garbage, recyclables and over 1,000 propane tanks were removed from the Island. Porta-potties and sewage disposal services were provided both on the mainland and Island. The work is not done with the Mission–there was plenty to do afterwards. After the Mission clearing of garbage and construction debris continued.
This year, Anthony Marshall’s vandalized cabin was repaired and a wheelchair ramp was built. Anthony was a bell ringer at the Mission for 68 years.
Funding for these projects came from the Pitu’paq partnership, the Province of Nova Scotia, various Mi’kmaq communities and corporate sponsors. The organizers are especially grateful to the many corporate and business sponsors who donated both dollars and water for the Elders.
This year, challenges were identified that need to be addressed in the future. Laurie and her team are working to put together a program to address environmental requirements in the upcoming years.