Your help is needed to replace the gym on Hornby Island.

In Aug 2018 the Hornby Island school burned down. So far the provincial government has not committed to replacing the full size gym that was used for many activities on the Island. There is a meeting on Hornby on June 20 with the School Board so we need to forward as many letters as possible before then.  Are you willing to write letters or emails? A draft letter is attached below. Emails and/or letters can be sent to:

Scott Fraser MLA: Mail: Scott Fraser, Room 323 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Rob Fleming, Minister of Education: Mail: Room 124 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

John Horgan, Premier: Mail: P.O. Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

Please cc all emails to:


Dear Minister Fleming, MLA Scott Fraser and Premier John Horgan;

I am writing you to request your support for the replacement of the destroyed gym on Hornby Island with a full sized gym.

Hornby Island community suffered a devastating blow when the school was destroyed by fire in August 2018. I understand the Ministry of Education is the final stages of finalizing funding levels for the new school. The school was relocated to the Community Hall from Sept-Dec and currently functions out of 4 portables. It has come to my attention that the insurance for the gym replacement is only adequate to cover the cost of a gym the quarter of the size of the original full size gym. Hornby is apparently just below the threshold to qualify for full replacement funding. Hornby is a remote island with no alternate community recreation facilities. The existing buildings are often booked with other activities, do not have enough space or are in need of repairs or replacement of equipment. The one facility with some modest fitness equipment has just put out a call for donations of exercise bikes, treadmills etc.

The gym is the center for all in-school sports and after school programming, summer sports activity, emergency preparedness training, toddler and preschool gym, seniors exercise, all ages badminton, teen night, basketball, pickle ball, indoor soccer, tennis, plays and fairs.

There is evidence that people in rural areas have higher BMI compared to urban dwellers which has been a recent trend. (1). Forty percent of the population on Hornby is over 65 and needing regular physical activity all year round including facilities that are handicapped accessible. Regular physical activity helps prevent dementia, (2–5) (6), obesity (7), diabetes(8,9), hypertension, (10) cardiovascular disease(11–13), falls (14), cancer (15) and progression of osteoarthritis. (16) Physical activity also improves pregnancy outcomes (17) and helps maintain social networks. Strong evidence demonstrated that physical activity reduces the risk of fall-related injuries by 32% to 40%, including severe falls requiring medical care or hospitalization. (14). For every increase of 2000 steps per day over baseline, there was an 8% yearly reduction in cardiovascular event rate in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. (18) In fact, the gym might be even more important for the rest of the population than the school kids. The gym also offered many special events that drew tourists and supported the local economy.

In addition to the gym, a small Natural History Centre was lost. The Centre was an interactive museum that offered learning opportunities for everyone in the community. In addition, it was an important summer tourist attraction that contributed to the sustainability of the economy.

I would appreciate your recommendation to the Ministry of Education for the full replacement of the gym and Natural History Center to their original size and function. The island has done considerable fundraising for a new art center and the appetite for additional fundraising is dwindling.

Your truly

As it turned out.. the school board had already done some scenarios about funding that includes enough sq. ft. to include a full size gym space. The Ministry of Education has a funding envelope that includes funding for emergencies which is going to be used to fund the replacement of the school. Lesson learned: don’t believe everything you hear or read on Facebook.


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  2. Kivimäki M, Luukkonen R, Batty GD, Ferrie JE, Pentti J, Nyberg ST, et al. Body mass index and risk of dementia: Analysis of individual-level data from 1.3 million individuals. Alzheimers Dement [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Jun 17];14(5):601–9. Available from:
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  15. MCTIERNAN A, FRIEDENREICH CM, KATZMARZYK PT, POWELL KE, MACKO R, BUCHNER D, et al. Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention and Survival. Med Sci Sport Exerc [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2019 Jun 17];51(6):1252–61. Available from:
  16. KRAUS VB, SPROW K, POWELL KE, BUCHNER D, BLOODGOOD B, PIERCY K, et al. Effects of Physical Activity in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis. Med Sci Sport Exerc [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2019 Jun 17];51(6):1324–39. Available from:
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