Fix-It Fair at Commons Jan. 28

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, January 17 2017

Gabriola’s first Fix-It Fair is coming to the Gabriola Commons on Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Patsy Ludwig spoke on behalf of Sustainable Gabriola Network, the group organizing the fair.

“The project is part of Sustainable Gabriola. It’s a network of people, including the people that started GERTIE and the car share program in Nanaimo. Sustainable Gabriola is a place where people from all these individual groups come together to discuss what they’re doing.

“Anyone can come to the meeting, which is what I did. At one of the meetings, a woman who has recently moved here from Bowen Island, Kim Kasasian, worked on Bowen with similar issues. She has organized Fix-it Fairs and we thought it would be a great idea to start them here.”

Ludwig, who has lived on Gabriola for 28 years and is now retired from a career in the theatre as a playwright, actor and teacher, says the Fix-It Fairs are something that have been happening all over the place for many years.

“Sometimes it’s called a Repair Café, and the purpose is part recycling and reusing, and neighbours helping neighbours to fix stuff instead of throwing it out. So what we’re doing is gathering a number of people who like to solve problems, who have an expertise in one area, or are good at looking at something and saying, okay, how can we fix this? That’s where neighbours helping neighbours comes in.”

Ludwig says the fair is free and people can bring their problems along and get help with them. 

“If your lamp doesn’t work, or socks your grandmother made you have holes and you don’t know how to darn them, you can bring them. There’s a fellow coming who installs heat pumps and he will answer all the questions he gets, and he’ll try to figure out those tough questions.”

People with sewing machines, tablets and iPhones are encouraged to come to the fair and Ludwig says the helpers at the fair may be able to solve the problem, or they may tell you this is something you can’t fix.

“This leads us to an associated group called a Tool Library, which is something we’re talking about starting. We could have the Fix-it Fair a couple of times a year. People are also talking about an upcycling project to use broken things for another project like garden sculptures. It’s an interesting way for a community to make itself more sustainable, because we’re not depending on experts somewhere else to fix things or just throwing broken things away.”

Ludwig says they have 10 to 12 people lined up to be expert helpers and kids are welcome to come too. 

“We’ll have demonstrations from a number of people about how to fix things. I have a stool and the rungs are coming out but I keep using it and it keeps coming apart and someone should tell me actually how to fix it.”

The fair is even for people who just want to come and see what it’s all about.

“The fair is fun. The idea of people solving problems together is fun and people can come and join in.”