When newcomers move to 108 Mile Ranch, Bev French is ready to welcome them.
The co-founder of the 108 Welcome Committee has a ream of important information for new members of the community, including everything from garbage pickup details, allowed trail system usage and maps of the area.
“When I first came here, there was nothing available,” said French, who moved here in 1992. “I didn’t know where you buy topsoil, I didn’t know if there was a daycare in the 108 … there was no directory, no information.”
Created more than 10 years ago by the 108 Mile Ranch Community Association (RCA), the 108 Welcome Committee initially began providing packages to newcomers through word of mouth. However, a few years ago the group printed postcards with contact information to be handed out at the post office when new residents were setting up their mailboxes.
French, along with fellow RCA volunteer Joanne, spent a few months compiling information specific to the 108 area and slowly the welcome package grew. Now, if a new neighbour reaches out, a volunteer sets up a time to meet and review all the information about the area.
“It’s really interesting to meet new people coming here, usually from a larger centre,” French says, noting the local group is not affiliated with Welcome Wagon.
“They’re so interested in the trails and the lakes and riding, hiking, walking – everything that we have to offer here.”
In addition to discussing the area’s various recreational amenities, French said the Welcoming Committee often fields questions about local wildlife and will offer advice about how to stay “bear aware” and live harmoniously with the many deer in the community.
Septic systems are another topic of discussion with new residents, as many who have relocated here have never dealt with one before.
French says the influx of new residents to the 108 has been steady over the past several years, but notes in the past year or two, the people she has met have really done their homework when choosing the Cariboo community over other parts of the province.
“I find the people moving here are moving with intention,” she says. “They’ve looked all over the province – maybe they are early retirees, or young families who want to raise their families somewhere other than the city. And we have lots of space, we are more central and still just a day’s drive coming from Vancouver. I think we have everything.”
For new residents, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the local community, French notes, as the RCA is always looking for volunteers and board members. It’s a great way to foster new friendships and get a true sense of the close-knit community of 108 Mile Ranch, she said.
“People love to hear that we are a real community and as you get to know each other, people are ready to help out if a neighbour has a problem. I think our sense of community spirit is really special.”
To find out more about the Welcoming Committee or the RCA, visit www.108ranch.com or email email@example.com