Meet the Mayor
May 7, 2014
Chetwynd is known for its chainsaw art – and rightly so. All over town (and at a few at locations around BC) we see sculptures executed by the best of world-class sculptors expressing the art and skill embedded in the human soul. But do we know how it all started and why the annual event continues to draw us home-town folk out and draw visitors in for the five days of intense and noisy competition. One reason, of course, is the fun we derive watching the artists free those hidden art objects from the scaly cedar logs.
I am reminding you now that the 10th annual event is hitting the ground in Chetwynd with chainsaws running on June 12. And we can’t imagine now, only about six short weeks from the date, the marvels we will see when the chainsaws shut down for the last time on June 15.
Of course many of you will remember this event from the first snarl of the saws a decade ago. How we marveled as the objects of art were released chip by chip! I, for one, would never have guessed that those chunks of barky cedar trees contained fishes, horses, reptiles, airplanes, and imaginary things of so many kinds.
What is even more astonishing is the visionary energy and persistence of the people who first imagined that Chetwynd could become the host of a world-class event. Chetwynd? Here? Well, why not here? For a moment just put yourselves in the shoes of the people who pulled the first solid ideas for the project out of the ether. Imagine the mountains of skepticism they climbed and the swamps of ridicule they navigated. What have you been smoking? Who’ll come? It’s too expensive. What’s in it for Chetwynd? You’re putting more burdens on the backs of the tax payers. Arrogant, power hungry politicians!
It’s quite another thing to carry on with an established program – though the work involved in carrying on cannot be praised enough. It’s an enormous job to pull the competition together for the annual event even after ten years of history. As the citizens of our home town, we need to appreciate the work of those who keep this events snarling from year to year.
All the appreciation for this world-class event goes to the worker beavers at the Chamber of Commerce. (Nothing chews wood like a beaver.) As tax payers, you bear almost nothing of the cost of the event. Volunteers, generous sponsorships, and a small contribution from the general revenue of the District of Chetwynd cover the expenses. The returns, of course, are great beyond all the contributions combined.
As a community, every year we get to keep twelve magnificent sculptures that have a value we cannot calculate. In real dollars, we couldn’t buy them for $100,000. In human interest attraction, we cannot count the people who come here just to see the art work lining our streets.
Mark your calendar for June 12.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor