Facebook photo/Bridget Matewish Howard, the world’s tallest gnome, located along the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay will be torn down if he doesn’t find a new home by April 30.

World’s largest gnome needs a new home

Iconic Vancouver Island attraction could soon be demolished

The world’s tallest gnome needs a new home.

Howard, the iconic eight-metre gnome, has stood tall along the Island Highway near Nanoose Bay since 1998, when he was built by Ron Hale. Howard was used as the mascot for the amusement park that Hale’s family once owned at the property that is now a Chevron gas station.

Hale’s granddaughter, Bridget Matewish, says the new property owners will tear Howard down if he’s not moved by April 30.

About four or five months ago, Matewish, who lives behind the gas station, noticed caution tape was put up around Howard and that there was moss growing on him.

“He hadn’t been in the greatest repair,” she said.

After speaking with representatives from the gas station, Matewish said they told her they were thinking of tearing Howard down.

“I went to them with the idea that we would fundraise the money and my husband and I would take him down, repair him and put him back, it wouldn’t cost them anything,” Matewish said. “He means a lot to my family and I think to the community.”

After several back and forth conversations about how to go about repairing Howard, the new owners agreed to let Matewish and her husband repair the gnome, and they even said they’d cover all the costs.

“They didn’t want to have to go the fundraising route,” Matewish said. “The talk started with the engineering and getting the (building) permitting in place… and then things kind of just stalled a little bit.”

Matewish said she received a letter last Tuesday from the property owners saying due to legal reasons they are no longer moving forward with the refurbishment of the gnome.

Matewish instantly took to social media to tell Howard’s story and appeal to the public to help find him a new home.

“We would love to see him stay where he is because it’s been his home forever but we would rather see him standing than not at all so we’d love to find him a new home where he’ll be appreciated and taken care of,” she said.

Howard was a labour of love for Matewish’s grandfather. Hale, who passed away a year and a half ago, built Howard in his garage using scraps he found around the property.

In 2009, Howard was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest gnome.

RELATED: Largest of all the world’s gnomes

“It took him probably a year to build it,” Matewish said. “I do think that [Howard] deserves to be in a place where he can be loved and still cherished and people can still take photos with him.”

Matewish said her social media post has received close to 1,000 shares and has already garnered interest from individuals willing to home Howard.

“We do have a few places that are interested, they’re not in the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area, which is where we would really like to keep him, preferably,” Matewish said.

Matewish said she and her aunts and uncles plan to get together later this month to go over all inquiries they receive for Howard and discuss the best options for the gnome.

“We’re going to take the time to really think about it, we’re not going to jump to a decision because he is really important,” she said.

Matewish said she’s already received dozens of comments from individuals who had fond memories of Howard.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Board of Education hires independent consultant to review SD82 reassignments

Review will not change recent decisions but will gather input, says board chair

Prince Rupert marine business adds second catamaran to its fleet

100-passenger Aurora was launched this year for the Rio Tinto Kemano tunnel project

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

New protocol will better assist victims of sexual assault

Victims of sexual assault are set to benefit from the completion of… Continue reading

School district remains firm on reassignments

Community calling for halt of decision

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

Rich U.S. donors fund anti-oil activism, meeting hears

Much of the organized opposition to oil and gas development in Canada… Continue reading

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

Most Read