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General News · 6th November 2010
Ralph Nursall
I was surprised and saddened to see the notice of the death of Fred Picard. I was attracted to the notice by the sight of his familiar face, with the suggestion of a smile, and white whiskers, relatively new to him, but signifying a move towards senior status. I had not known that Fred was a rider. I do hope that his road trip in Arizona gave him great pleasure.
I met Fred in the early '90s. when I was Regional Director and the Official Community Plan was being designed and constructed. Fred (always backed by Bevann) had lots of suggestions and ideas. He and I often wrangled over his ideas, and those of others; we got to know each other and to respect different viewpoints. We argued in person and by telephone, often emphatically, but not, as I recall, with vindictiveness. When we met, other than in relation to OCP or RD business, we chatted amiably as Islanders.
When Fred and Bevann were packing to leave Cortes, I visited him to explore the possibility of purchasing the snooker table and appurtenances that were part of the furnishings of their Gorge Harbour B&B. I had in mind them being useful in the dreamed-about Seniors' Activity Centre, to be located near the Seniors' Village. We spent a lot of time discussing the possibility; Fred offered excellent terms to the Seniors, but it was at the time that the Seniors Society was deeply involved in planning and financing the Seniors' Village; it was not possible to free funds to purchase things to be stored for dreams. To our mutual regret, we had to abandon the matter.
In a later conversation with Fred on the ferry, I learned of his foray into street vending in Victoria. What a remarkable adventure! The last time he and I talked, it was on Government Street, outside Munro's Bookstore, where he was established on a bright fall day. We chatted for about 15 minutes, while he continued to serve passersby who sought his fare: hot dogs, drinks, and some of the other delicacies expected from such entrepreneurs. It may have been the last day of his selling that year; the weather was changing. He told me of the travails of street-merchandising, the licences, the equipment standards, the health inspections – but I believe he enjoyed it. He was outdoors, he met and talked to interesting people, he had a satisfying measure of independence.
I left him there and went about my business, feeling refreshed and reacquainted. He was a friend. Fred Picard was his own man, opinionated,
adventuresome, and unpretentious. I will miss him.