March 18, 2021
A former government minister, two communications professionals, and a retired environmental engineer whose past life includes running The Laughing Oyster Bookstore – these are some of the Denman Island residents who are on the board of the Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA).
New members were recruited following the resignation of several directors, including founding members Harlene Holm and Guy Marion, who dedicated themselves to the organization for 12 years! Some new director positions were created to bring added strength to the board as the non-profit group approaches the milestone of buying the land for its seniors affordable housing project: Pepper Lane.
Board members now include long-time Denman residents such as bookkeeper Virginia MacCuspic – whose parents ran the General Store for 30 years – John Mather – who ran a concrete and gravel-hauling business on the island for 25 years – and Doug Olstead, a retired lawyer who has lived on Denman since 1988 and has acted as legal advisor to the DCLTA for the past four years. Doug is now the board’s co-chair and Virginia is treasurer.
Some members are relatively new to the island – at least as full-time residents. These include retired teacher Nancy Hoyano (she is the board secretary) and her neighbour Chris Wardman, whose varied career includes being a guitarist and songwriter with the ’80s new wave band Blue Peter and creating an online presence for musicians as the Senior Manager of New Media at Universal Music Canada.
Other relative newcomers are Sue Hammell, a former teacher who served multiple terms as the NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers and whose cabinet positions included being Minister of Housing.
Communications Consultant Brad Hornick moved to Denman with his family in 2019 and he’s applied his skills to volunteer work with multiple island organizations ever since.
Two board members can be described as both old and new to Denman. Paul Beauchemin and his wife (of the Laughing Oyster history) came to Denman for 10 years in 1973 before moving to North Vancouver where he worked as an environmental engineer. They moved back full-time last year.
Stephanie Slater and her husband have lived on Denman for seven years but Stephanie visited the island since the early 1970s when her family bought the property where her 95-year-old father, Bill, still lives. Stephanie is a Communications Manager with the First Nations Health Authority. She co-chairs the board with Doug.
Stephanie sums up the reason why she and her fellow directors are serving on the board of the DCLTA: “A community without its Elders is poor, indeed. A healthy community makes a place for all its members – of all means.”
Note: Since this article was posted, Deborah Frketich and John Mills have also joined the DCLTA board.