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A Hive Mentality

9 Apr 2019 11:05 AM | Alex Acton (Administrator)

By Tom Lupton, Director

Looking up the other day after the snow had mercifully receded, I glanced into the barren wasteland that used to be my backyard and braced myself for my annual death-match with the dandelions that consume the entire patch of turf I call my lawn. Not willing to head down the road of going nuclear (or in this case, using round-up), I began researching “ways to kill dandelions in Shawnigan.” A quick glance down the list of hits told me that to kill dandelions is to kill bee communities and that I shouldn’t do it. It was something of a relief to me because I am excellent at growing dandelions and I can leverage my talents to save bee communities, and by extension, save our community. A suburban hero, to say the least!

One of the other hits on the list was the title of a book called “13 Ways to Kill your Community.” It turns out the author, Doug Griffiths, is coming to Shawnigan on April 4 to discuss his book, but he won’t be speaking about bees.  Instead, he is going to outline the various things that communities can do to sabotage their development and decrease the quality of life for those who reside within. He goes into depth about how not attracting business harms communities, about how ignoring seniors and youth is detrimental, and about how having poor water quality, among other things, kills communities.

Those who have lived in Shawnigan for a while will recognize the problems associated with all of those things, with the fight over water simply being the most dramatic in a laundry list of issues that we face. But it was another point he makes in the book that resonates most with me: Becoming complacent. Or, put another way, apathy. Anyone who has worked in any organization that relies on collaboration knows just how dangerous and damaging apathy can be.

The good news is that no one can accuse us of being an apathetic community. Indeed, in terms of a motivated population, we punch well above our weight. However, I do wonder about the other initiatives Mr. Griffiths will be speaking upon. How can we revitalize our village core and make it more liveable for our seniors and youth, and make Shawnigan more of a home than a bedroom community or a summer destination,  if we don’t have the power to actually make the decisions for our community?

Those who have read this column over the past several months will know that I am banging on the ‘exploring incorporation’ drum here, but I do want to highlight that the operative word in that phrase is ‘explore.’ We should explore any and all opportunities as a community, of which incorporation is just one, to make sure apathy never creeps into our midst, for as long as we remain committed to our community and to revitalizing the area, then we will thrive in every sense of the word. Is incorporation the way to ensure this? Maybe, maybe not. We will only know once it has been fully explored. In the meantime, I’ll be growing a mean dandelion field in my backyard.

I've been told, that at the time of this article going to press, 225 people have registered to attend this event.There is not cost to attend, so, if you haven't already please RSVP to

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