Brianna van de Wijngaard smiles with a freshly repaired tool at the Repair Cafe held on Saturday, May 11 at the Potato House. Patrick Davies Photo.

Williams Lake’s first Repair Café well attended

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society Plans to make this an annual event

Williams Lake’s first ever Repair Cafe held at the Potato House was a laid back homely affair.

Dozens of lakecity locals turned out with broken or faulty household goods that a team of community members set about fixing with will and good cheer. As the afternoon sun beamed warmly down garden tools were fixed, olds bikes received TLC and even electronics were all worked on.

Repair cafes have become popular around the world as a way to reduce waste, keep handyman skills alive and provide people with an opportunity to socialize. The one in Williams Lake was organized by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s communication coordinator Brianna van de Wijngaard.

According to Wijngaard, repair cafes are a part of an international initiative overseen by the Repair Cafe Foundation based in Amsterdam, Holland and was begun back in 2009. As the CCCS has it’s own Waste Wise Program, she thought it’d be a good fit for the society.

Read More:Down to Earth: The small but mighty act of fixing things

“For everything that gets fixed it’s one more item that’s diverted from the landfill or not purchased new,” Wijngaard said.

The most popular station at the repair cafe seemed to be the one for bikes, with Wijngaard observing this was likely due to Mary Forbes and the CCCS’s bikes for all program, where they take old bikes and fix them up for the community.

In addition, they also offered a sewing station, dealing primarily in patching clothes and replacing lost buttons, Wijngaard said, a small motors station and a lot of work on repairing garden tools, like making new shafts for shovel heads. The CCCS’s president, Bill Lloyd, was there as a carpenter and was primarily dealing with the woodworking side of the repairs.

Wijngaard said that these events can take a while to catch on, but said that the CCCS is looking to make this an annual event. They’ll be trying it again in the spring of next year around the same time to test the event’s viability.

“Hopefully next time we can just double, or triple (our turnout). We’ll do it again and see how that goes,” Wijngaard said.

Posted online, Wijngaard said, is a list of all the businesses the CCCS could think of that does repair work in town under their Waste Wise page. You can check their website at for more information on both this and other programs.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Emma Stowell (left) and her sister Abby Stowell explain to Blair Woodhurst what’s wrong with their bikes at the first Repair Cafe in Williams Lake. Patrick Davies Photo.

The Potato House’s Mary Forbes joins forces with Joe Borsato on a tricky bike repair at Williams Lake’s first Repair Cafe, held at the Potato House.

Mary Forbes tinkers with a bike at the Repair Cafe held at the Potato House on Saturday. Patrick Davies Photo.

Bert Groenenberg works on removing a tire from a bike during the Repair Cafe. Patrick Davies Photo.

Bill Lloyd shaves a new handle for a shovel head during the Repair Cafe on Saturday, May 11.

Just Posted

Independent watchdog investigating Williams Lake RCMP

The IIO was called in by the RCMP after a man was pursued by police and injured in a motorbike crash

WildSafeBC hires new co-ordinator for Cariboo region

Mareike Moore said the main message is keeping wildlife wild, communities safe

City playgrounds to reopen today, June 1, at noon

Users are reminded to play by the rules and continue to follow physical distancing and hygiene

Mining Month: A celebration of dedication and resiliency

May is Mining Month, as proclaimed by the Province of B.C.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read