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Victoria County event shovelling out residents

Chris Law of Goose Cove was surrounded a few weeks ago by something that hasn’t been seen as much in Victoria County this year — snow. While much of this is now gone, Victoria County residents who find themselves with too much of a good thing can take part in this year’s Shovel Fest, a part of the Embrace The Highlands Festival. CONTRIBUTED • ANNE-CLAUDE PEPIN
Chris Law of Goose Cove was surrounded a few weeks ago by something that hasn’t been seen as much in Victoria County this year — snow. While much of this is now gone, Victoria County residents who find themselves with too much of a good thing can take part in this year’s Shovel Fest, a part of the Embrace The Highlands Festival. CONTRIBUTED • ANNE-CLAUDE PEPIN
INGONISH, N.S. —

If you can’t beat them, shovel them out.

Cape Breton’s time banks and the Embrace the Highlands Festival have taken a despised winter activity and turned it into a way to get neighbours helping neighbours during a not-so-wonderful time of the year.

It’s called Shovel Fest and according to St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank founder Anne-Claude Pépin, it’s a way to encourage a friendly competition of neighbours helping neighbours during what is usually the snowiest time of the year.

“We haven’t had a lot of snow,” Pépin said recently. “We’ve really only had that one storm since it started so some people expressed interest but we’re hoping for more snow through the rest of February.”

In fact, Shovel Fest will move into March since more snow may still be on the way.

“We invite people to contact us to say 'I could use some help with shovelling around my house' and another to say 'I’m available to go out and help with shovelling.' We match people and make sure people get the help they need.”

Get ready, set, shovel. If you live in Victoria County and need some help shovelling, the St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank may be able to help. STOCK IMAGE
Get ready, set, shovel. If you live in Victoria County and need some help shovelling, the St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank may be able to help. STOCK IMAGE

 

Shovel Fest is based on the model that the St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank follows.

“It’s a network where people can place requests for help and then other people see that and say 'I can do that — I can help you.' And you can exchange without paying people money.”

When people call looking for someone to shovel, they will be told about the time bank and how they can take part in the exchange of services. If they’re not interested, they will still be given help, said Pépin.

As well, those who participate will be entered in a prize draw to win day passes for Ski Cape Smokey, North Highland Nordic and Ski Tuonela and fundraising for a local not-for-profit of the winner’s choice.

“It goes around and you pay it forward,” said Pépin.

Since 2017, the St. Ann’s Time Bank has been going strong with 187 members and more than 3,000 hours exchanged between people helping each other with different tasks.

Elizabeth Patterson is a culture and health reporter at the Cape Breton Post. 

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