Bowen this week: May 29

A new e-commerce site to support Bowen businesses, meet the Malawian music star who's spending the pandemic on Bowen and a story about a Vonigo mug: just some of this week's headlines

Have your umbrellas handy––rain’s in store for the last couple of days of May with highs of 21 and 15 over the weekend. But, it could be a sunny start to June as sun’s in the forecast for Monday.

Environment Canada seven-day forecast for Squamish
Environment Canada seven-day forecast for Squamish - Environment Canada

Looking over the past week:

A new e-commerce website, IslandCOMEBACK, for rural island businesses including Bowen Island launched this week. The initiative comes out of the Rural Islands Economic Partnership and so far eight islands’ sites have gone live. Bowen’s site has 15 local businesses one can either buy a gift card from or donate to a business. Visit We’ll have more on this story next week.

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BIM’s new chief administrative officer Liam Edwards took the helm of municipal operations Monday. At the council meeting that night Mayor Gary Ander thanked outgoing interim CAO Dennis Back for guiding the municipality through the past seven months. Watch for an interview with Edwards in next week’s paper.

Short term rental regulations, which include the controversial 120 day per year limit on individual STRs, passed second readings at the council meeting (the regulations are being put into place with amendments to three different bylaws) and will now go to public hearing.

The ferry schedule is changing June 3. BC Ferries is dropping the last sailing from Horseshoe Bay and back (so the last ferry runs at 10 p.m. from Bowen.)

Emergency Operations Centre update for May 29:

As Bowen and B.C. generally reopen, the EOC is highlighting the “golden rules” of phase 2 of the provincial restart plan:

  • “Stay informed
  • Stay home if you’re sick - no exceptions
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Clean your hands
  • Cover your cough
  • Increase cleaning at home and work
  • Make spaces safer
  • Minimize non-essential travel"

In his weekly video message, Mayor Gary Ander asked islanders to continue avoiding non-essential travel and for visitors to stay away.

“We ask that you don’t invite guests from other communities at this time,” said Ander.

Businesses also featured in the chat.

“We have to support our local businesses,” said Ander. “They’re opening up under very strict protocols  and they’re going to need us more than ever to help them out and help them get through this very tough time.”

Ander asked islanders to take note of businesses’ protocols and be kind, thoughtful and patient.

In other municipal news, BIM sent out property tax notices in the mail May 21. Payments are due July 2.

This week's jam:

Lady Pace, the first Malawian woman to release a hip hop album has spent the past few months isolating on Bowen Island. The 24-year-old rapper came to Vancouver to learn about a music therapy program so as to create something similar back home but COVID derailed her plans. Instead, Pace and friend and islander Patti DeSante have been finding ways to connect Malawi and Canada during COVID. Read: Meet the Malawian music star isolating on Bowen Island.

Meet Halfpipe:

The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) identified Bowen’s latest movie star, a young humpback whale who’s been spotted in Howe Sound waters as well as around Vancouver, as one-year-old Halfpipe. MERS said that while they don’t know Halfpipe’s gender, they know that Split Fluke is this whale’s mother and Heather/Killer is the grandmother. Halfpipe likely migrated from Mexico, said the MERS story.

The story also highlighted the necessity for boaters to go slow around whales.

“Baleen whales like Humpbacks do not have the biosonar of species like Orca,” said the story. “They can be oblivious of boats, especially when feeding and they are particularly hungry at this time of the year.”

“Too often boaters assume Humpbacks are “in transit”, travelling in a straight line, rather than understanding that the whales are often on long, unpredictable dives when feeding or searching for food.”

For more information see last week’s story from Di Izdebski and Bob Turner about boating and whale safety.

For those interested in whales in the sound, there’s the Howe Sound Cetacean Sightings Group.

Below is Adam Taylor's video of a humpback breaching.


Thanking the essential, front line and public sphere workers: 

Jessica Blackbourn wearing a scrub cap
Last week's recognized worker was Jessica Blackbourn, an emergency room nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital. The beautiful scrub cap Jessica’s sporting too has an island connection –– Caroline Hurd of Modern Mending made it! - Submitted
Geoff McKay standing before a boat
This week: the last of the public-sphere workers to receive $100 in recognition of their work during the pandemic is Geoff McKay of Cormorant Marine, thank you for all your work Geoff!

For the past five weeks, thanks to an anonymous donor, we’ve had the opportunity to recognize a tiny percentage of those who worked through the pandemic to keep our society going. The individuals recognized were Cheryl Evans, Chris Leigh, Jenny Lee, Jessica Blackbourn and now Geoff McKay but there are so many more people out there who have worked harder than they ever have before and in situations more dangerous than they appear. Through this pandemic, we’ve learned just how important and yet undervalued jobs like stocking shelves  or delivering milk are and just how many people it takes to keep us safe and fed. To every person who went to work knowing they would or may have to interact with people over these past months, thank you. 

We need to continue thanking people and recognizing their contributions as the pandemic drags on. We need to hold on to the gratefulness and the lessons. We may need them again soon. (And we’d love any thank-you letters islanders would like to share!)

Finally, a thank you to the anonymous donor who gave us the opportunity to step back and say thank you. It’s people like you who bring out the best in us all. 

Memories from a mug: 

Lynda Vanden Elzen loved the Vonigo mug she carted around the province for a decade but then it broke. When we shared the story on Facebook, people started sharing their own stories of Sue Clarke’s lovely pottery.

Bowen this week: May 29_0





Looking for a sign: 

Keen-eyed islanders passing Raef Grohne’s property beside the satellite fire hall may have spotted this cheerful sign in recent weeks. Grohne was inspired to put up the 10’x2’ backlit sign after passing over the Georgia Viaduct every day and seeing a building-wide neon sign on Bob Rennie’s building that says “everything’s gonna be alright.” Grohne calls this his “hippy-dippy” island version. 

Correction: an earlier version of this article said it was "Bob Rooney's building." Sorry for the error. 

A sign that says don't worry be happy you live on Bowen
Source: Raef Grohne


Bowen's got talent: 

It’s the second week of the Bowen Island Legion’s talent show. This week, there’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s acting, there’s pure Bowen talent.

Next week is the last week of submissions, with the due date of Wednesday. “Call Lynne at 604 910 5990 to book a taping time Wednesday evening or email a video with a brief bio to by 6 p.m. Wednesday.”

Recognizing the helpers: 

Every day, in the Bowen Island Flatten the Curve Facebook page, administrator Maureen Nicholson puts out a call for people who can help and people who need help. Every day, Sharon Boone comments, “Available for delivery of groceries and essentials anywhere on island. Pls DM with details.” 

The Undercurrent checked in with the islander: “Maureen’s daily posts indicated that there’s a need in the community, and since I’m unemployed,  I felt it was something I could do to help,” explained Boone in a message. “As long as Maureen posts, I will as well.” 

“I can say there is a need in these challenging circumstances.” 

While she’s helped islanders, Boone said she’d happily be busier, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

For a long-read: 

Married for 74 years, this North Van couple died with COVID-19 died 37 hours apart: "To British Columbians, 98-year-old Joan Proctor and 97-year-old Robert Proctor were two more nameless COVID-19 deaths declared, always with a mournful hitch in the throat, by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during her daily media briefing. But to the Proctor family, they were so much more than that. They were everything."

The cartoon: 

A man in bed with a monologue about how he's safe tucked away on Bowen
Source: Ron Woodall

That's it for this week! What would you like to see in the weekly roundups? Email

-Bronwyn Beairsto, Editor

© Copyright Bowen Island Undercurrent


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