What would you like to know about your neighbours? Send suggestions for our Q&A series to firstname.lastname@example.org. This week’s neighbour: Jeremy Howe
When did you come to Bowen?
What brought you to Bowen Island
I had a workmate, and a friend, and another friend who had moved to Bowen beforehand. So I got a feel for the differences. I work in mineral exploration and a lot of people who live on Bowen work in the same field. Because a lot of people get into mineral exploration because they like the outdoors and Vancouver’s a big exploration centre. So Bowen actually turned out to be viable. At one point, five people that I worked with, lived on Bowen. It was quite weird.
So it wasn’t quite an escape from work.
Well, no, but it was an escape from the city. I’ve just never been a big urban person. And it was the perfect mix. The minute I moved here, I knew it was the right decision. At the weekend in town, you want to get out of town and everybody else has got the same idea. But here, when I moved here, I was where I wanted to be. And at that time, not a lot of tourists came to the island.
Where on Bowen do you live?
Up in what they call old Cates Hill now. They were the first seven lots subdivided here – on Cates Lane.
Fill the ferry line up gap or don’t fill the gap?
It’s not something I really think of? I mean, well, queue jumping has just never been on. But I mean, if it’s clear that there’s not going to be an overload when you come down and there’s a space down below, there’s no impropriety in going down there and filling a spot because you’re not going to displace anybody. That’s the key thing. You don’t want to displace anybody.
What’s your favourite Bowen fact or story?
I love the fact that we have so much Crown land here. Over 40 per cent of the island is Crown land, although the real fear of that, and this has cropped up a couple of years ago, is it’s still in the B.C. forestry cut inventory. There’s no reason to suppose that it’s not going to be cut in future, which of course would be an absolute unmitigated disaster.
But that’s what makes it neat and why people come here is because there are these vast tracts of forest to explore. And boy, have people ever been exploring it since the pandemic.
I’ve wandered through and bushwhacked through huge tracts – most of the island, actually – and there were trails that almost nobody knew about. Now they’re trampled. Everybody’s found them. And those would be locals, probably.
What’s something Bowen Islanders have in common?
I mean, everybody talks about the community. And that’s true. I think it’s just being on an island, your sense of community is unique. I always think of it as orbits of familiarity. In town, there’s your good friends and then everybody else. But on Bowen there are your good friends, then there are the people that you occasionally see who you’re not quite so good friends with, and then it sort of goes out from there to the people you ricochet off when you go the Cove. In the very outer perimeter of familiarity are the people you don’t know their name, you recognize their faces as islanders, and if you see them in town, you will say hello.
But you don’t get that unless you have that kind of tight communality. I think being an island makes that a very defined thing.
What’s your favourite COVID-19 Balm or activity?
It would be somewhere between hiking and gardening when the season allows it, and kayaking, of course.