At the 2017 AGM in Penticton Brian Wood stood up and said that the FMCBC had a large number of old paper files and documents that were in danger of being lost. There were dozens of boxes of old files stored at the MEC head office on Broadway which was to be closed when MEC moved to their new headquarters.These boxes had been like nomads – travelling from place to place looking for a home. They started life at the old Fed office on Broadway. When that office was closed, they were moved to the MEC office just down the street. From there they were moved to a storage unit on Vancouver Island, then to a blueberry barn in Surrey and then back to the MEC office.
The files included an assortment of documents ranging from old copies of Cloudburst, to meeting minutes, to comments on Rec and Con issues of the day (some of which are still active); as well as photographs and maps.
Examples of how this information could be useful would be to provide historical context on issues or comparing differences over time brought about by climate change.
A plan was put together to first organize and clean up the files and then find a place to store them on a more permanent basis. An initial round of cleanup was conducted and then the files were on the road again (cue Willie Nelson) to Taiga’s head office on Bridgewater Street arranged for by Andrew Drouin.
It was decided that the best permanent solution would be to donate the files to an institution that had an interest in historical records and the facilities to maintain them for the long term. UBC Archives was contacted and agreed to take all the files. So, once again the files were packed up and sent down the road to UBC Archives. All the files are now housed at their facility at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall. When we first started to look into the problem of long-term retention of records it was suggested that all the documents should be scanned and stored electronically so that they would be easily available. Unfortunately, the cost and effort to do so would be prohibitive. What UBC Archives has done is create a Finding Aid which lists the title of every record in the collection.
This Finding Aid is available on-line so that anyone can conduct a search for relevant records, then go to the Archives office to access them.
UBC Archives is open to receiving any additional records that individual members may have stashed away in their basements that they think should be kept for the long term. Now that we have solved the problem of paper files there is the question of electronic documents. While the FMCBC has a system for managing electronic files that it creates or comes into its possession, there was a time between the old days of paper files and today where people tended to retain their own documents. These could well be lost over time. If you have documents you wish to donate (either paper or electronic), or questions about any of this, contact Mike Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the first FMCBC Newsletter from 1974 – a peek at FMCBC