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

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Funding uncertain, but Agassiz’s Storytime in the Park will go on, organizer says

The literacy program takes place each summer in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Most Read