BCHBC Chapter Profile: North Vancouver Island
Volunteers and dignitaries at the July 2013 Grand Opening of the Memekay Horse Camp in Sayward.
The first BCHBC Chapter on Vancouver Island was formed in Nanaimo in 1996. Many of its then 100-plus members, however, lived in the Comox Valley and surrounding communities, so commuting to meetings was a challenge. As a result, in 2002 the Vancouver Island chapter was moved to the Comox Valley.
Additional chapters were eventually started in Duncan (South Vancouver Island), Port Alberni (Alberni Valley) and, most recently, Central Vancouver Island (Nanaimo). Our original group changed our name to North Vancouver Island and we draw our members from Parksville north.
NVI meets at the Grantham Hall, on the North Old Island Highway, the third Thursday of each month (September – June) at 7:00 p.m.
Our regular monthly meetings feature guest speakers on a variety of equine health, care and training topics, and trail riding. We also have other educational and social events, such as an annual Christmas party, sanctioned trail rides, trailer safety clinics, and, of course, lots of work bees!
The lack of Crown land in our area keeps us busy working with the Comox Valley Regional District, to ensure we maintain our right to ride in local parks. We offer our hands and knowledge as often as we can to foster this relationship.
Our involvement in the provincial organization has been significant. NVI chapter members have served on the Provincial Board in the positions of Treasurer (6 years), Vice President (2 positions, 6 years to date, with one currently serving) and the Workbee Coordinator for the whole organization. We also have the dedicated member who takes care of the Provincial Facebook page, E-Newsletters and website content.
Our current Chair, Sharon Pickthorne, has been involved in many projects including:
- Represented all local riders in the Resource Group for the Comox Valley Parks and Greenways Planning Strategy
- Represented all riders at the table when land claim negotiations were happening in 2008 with six members of the provincial and federal negotiating team.
- Sitting as Chair on the Joint Trails and Access Committee (a joint provincial working group from Horse Council BC and BCHBC)
- Is our Horse Council Affiliate Board member
We are also humbled to have two of our chapter members – Sharon Pickthorne and Deb Oakman – have received the Horse Council BC’s Bob James Volunteer of the Year Award.
While NVI has been involved with many local trail projects, however, we are most proud of the Salmon Brewster Horse Camps and Trail Corridor Project. These are the first public horse camping sites on Crown Land on Vancouver Island, dedicated for all to enjoy. We are now working the completion of the 40-kilometre trail between the two campsites. In collaboration with local community stakeholders and government, BCHBC NVI Chapter secured more than $100,000 in funding to build these facilities. We are publishing a book to chronicle this significant achievement. It will be published in February 2015.
North Vancouver Island Chapter Executive: