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Rebbecca has started a new business called Java on the Spit
selling coffee and baked goods at the Sandspit Airport.

interview conducted by Clemens Rettich


How long have you lived in Sandspit?
Since April,1986, eleven years in April.

When you moved here, what were the reasons for your move?
Roger, my husband's work. He gave me a choice of Gold River or the Queen Charlottes, and I've been to Gold River but I was under the impression that there were no bars here! (Laughs). We both love it here and would even if we didn't have kids. We'd never think of doing anything else. The only pros to Gold River were the community recreation facilities. Sometimes we start thinking about swimming lessons for the kids, that kind of thing - that's the only thing - so I figure we made the right choice.

We actually left here for a year and then came back. In September '88 and '89 we went to Campbell River. The move, as much as it was a pain, and as much as it was a brief go-down move, and come back, it was the best thing we ever did. It was really good, the leaving and coming back. It was easier to change things we wanted to change, because we had come back, it was like starting fresh. Even though we still knew people we basically had to reintroduce ourselves because we had made a lot of changes in our lives. It was very positive. I'm glad we came back. You just have to watch the news and you say, "Oh man, I'm so glad we live here!"

We realized about two years ago that we don't want to leave. We always kept saying, "Well you know we could put raspberry bushes in this year, but what if we leave?" And now we're thinking if an opportunity arises through work that we can leave and it's a positive move for us we will. We don't have a problem doing that, but we're in no hurry. If we're here for twenty years we're here for twenty years, and if we're here for a year, we're here for a year. I actually planted bulbs this year. Puttin' roots down!

Are the things you moved here for, still here? Do you continue to live here for the same reasons?

You know, if we didn't have kids, we wouldn't even think of leaving. I love it here, I absolutely love it here. I've lived on the coast my entire life, and I just love it. I love the stormy days, I love the beautiful days. I like the stormy days better than the beautiful days. I'm not a heat freak so its perfect for me. I don't mind the rain and I don't mind a bit of snow. We do stuff anyway. I walk a lot, and I don't care what the weather is doing outside. If its stormy I put earplugs in and trudge along!

Do you see yourself spending the rest of you life here?
Oh yes! You know it all boils down to income, which we definitely need to survive. We could transfer to other places but we'd rather not. What we would like is a steady job here - which one day - you never know. Actually, we're waiting to hear about a job right now.

What are the qualities of Sandspit and these Islands that you value?
I am a people person, I love the community, I know almost every single person here - being here for 10 or 11 years. Some people might not know who I am, but when a new person comes to town, before long you know something about them! Even if its just where they're from, who they work for, where they live, if they have kids in the school.

I love the social aspect of these Islands and the kids ­p; I know who's kids my kids are playing with, I know about the kids, I know where they are. It's a safer feeling. Now, I have no illusions that nothing bad can happen here, I know that bad things can happen. Just the risks seem much lower.

I love being around the ocean, and here we're surrounded by the ocean! We fish, Roger hunts, I love to trout fish. I love the river and we go mushroom picking.

Do you have any sense what Sandspit might be like, might look like, in the next 10 years, the next 25?
Because I have been brave enough or naive enough to go into a small business, I see smaller business ventures. I don't care what they are, anything. I see people doing more home-based business. And definitely more tourism. I can only see this place becoming more intriguing for people, because everywhere else is growing so fast. On this Island we are going to be in this pristine spot which others are going to want. But there's only so much space, so that side of it is pretty scary. I have seen many families changing over, but the group of people who come and then go, is becoming smaller.

When you have a large company like TimberWest, there is more turnover. But it does seem like they've brought in a whole group of younger families, which is really neat. It'll be interesting to see how they fare. I've seen so many of them come ­p; some of them end up liking it but some of them just I don't know if they're willing to try to relax and enjoy what there is here. I always think that where ever you are you have to live and not always be thinking about living somewhere you don't live.

Do you see any impediments to Sandspit becoming a permanent, thriving community?
There are two things. One is what I have heard over the years, and that of course is negativity: "It'll never happen, Sandspit will never grow - the fishing has gone down so now every one is going to move or the woods are going down so now everyone is going to move." Negative attitudes are the biggest impediment.
I also see people like myself who finally got the guts to step out and say, "Well, I'm going to try it [a small business]."

I have had people come up to me who I barely know, and say "Oh, I hear you are going into the airport." And I say, "We're thinking about it." And they say, "Well, you better watch it! You know things happen, and you better get" And I'm thinking, "Why not encourage me? This is your community too. We're trying to provide a service."

At least three times a week we have people asking us ­p; and that's a lot for such a small place ­p; "When are you guys opening?" And then there's Pat and Carole building their business and that's positive. I don't see the negative in that. But you have to stand up otherwise people will encourage you to sit down! I've had people do that.
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