Saturday’s grand reopening of the Silver Creek Community Hall was an opportunity for residents who are feeling frightened and confused by recent events in their own backyard to regroup and take stock of what they love about their neighbourhood.
Children coloured at tables on the fringes of the room or played raucous games of tag running among the tables of adults playing board games or talking over coffee and pie on Oct. 28. The room filled up with the sound of more than 40 attendees laughing and sharing stories, in addition to someone playing the weathered old piano on the hall’s stage.
The social event was a welcome break for some residents who say they have grown tired of talking or thinking about the RCMP search of a property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road where human remains have been discovered.
“People are scared, they are angry, they are fighting each other on the Internet – it’s horrid what is happening online on some of these community forums,” said Colleen Greig.
Greig organized the social night, and has played a role in getting the hall’s society number reinstated so they can host events as a not-for-profit corporation again. She said it is important, now more than ever, that people care about and look after their neighbours.
“People are angry, but anger is a secondary emotion that is covering up fear. The fear is taking over. But people can’t do anything with fear, and so that fear turns to anger and people are picking on each other because they don’t know what to do with how scared they are,” Greig said.
“That’s why we want to get together. We want to show everyone that this is a loving, caring community. We want people to come together.”
According to other Silver Creek residents, caring for each other is something the community excels at.
Long-time Silver Creek residents Brenda Holdaway and Helen Boast described the community as open and tight knit.
Boast praised community events such as the Halloween fireworks show at the Silver Creek Park and the group for quilting and other crafts put on at the Silver Creek Senior’s Hall.
Holdaway said she fears some of the sense of neighbourly belonging she has is being lost due to an over-reliance on technology.
Holdaway and Boast as well as several other residents mentioned how the community has pulled together in trying times such as the forest fire which ripped through the valley in 1998 or the flooding this spring.
A prominent message of the evening was whatever the outcome of the ongoing police investigation, or any other crisis that upsets the quiet life treasured by Silver Creek’s residents, they will face it the same way they have faced past challenges — together.
Newcomers to the community Trudy and Gene Nedila, who say they have lived in the area for about a year and a half, echoed the sentiments of residents who have lived in Silver Creek longer.
“Everyone here really pulls together, they’re like family members you haven’t met yet,” Trudy said.
Trudy said she was pleased with the support they received from their neighbours in the form of everything from encouragement as they painted their new house to borrowing a tractor to clear rocks from their property.
Trudy gives back to the community herself by volunteering as a reading tutor at the Silver Creek Elementary School.
When rising flood waters threatened several properties in Silver Creek this spring, Trudy said she was impressed by the generosity her neighbours showed offering to give those displaced by the floods and their livestock a place to stay.
When asked about the more recent crisis — the discovery of human remains just up the road — Trudy said she feels for everyone whose lives have been disturbed by it, but knows that the community will lean on each other and work together to get through it.
“From what I know of this community, they’re resilient. We will survive this.”
Silver Creek residents will have another opportunity to break bread and forge friendships together as the Seventh Day Adventist church is hosting a free community meal on Nov. 12. Those who wish to attend are asked to call Edna at 250-832-6990 to RSVP.
-with files from Tracy Hughes