Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Moncton Repair Fair looks to keep well-used items out of the landfill

Inside Moncton’s Resurgo Place, a line of people stretches down the hallway, each one clutching a busted item: a boom-box, coffee maker, lamp, shop vacuum, tattered gloves. Every so often a bell can be heard from inside the room and a cheer goes up. Another well-loved item has been fixed.

This is the Moncton Repair Fair.

“We open our doors to the community who want to have things repaired at no charge,” said Suzanne Melanson, founder of the event.

This is the fifth edition of the event that tries to breathe new life into items that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

People bring in items and are matched up with volunteers with various technical specialties. Melanson says this is the busiest one yet.

“It’s definitely growing in popularity. The word of mouth has really increased as every event moves forward,” she said.

“We definitely have a very long line-up today and are quite happy to see how people are wanting to give a second life to things that might have either stayed in a garage for years at a time or a basement.”

Melanson says the goal of the event is two-fold: to keep items out of the waste stream and to help foster an interest in repair work, something she believes has been lost over time.

“There seems to be a lost art of repair ability out there,” she said.

“We do know that there are people out in the community that know how to repair things and they love to repair things,” Melanson added, “and we find that this type of venue marries them up with their passion and wanting to help people in the community.”

Guy Daigle is one of the handy volunteers. Daigle says his father was very handy and constantly tinkering and instilled a deep curiosity of how things work.

“Growing up I had a natural curiosity of, ‘OK, how does this work and how do I take it apart and how do I put it back together?’” he said.

“I love puzzles. So for me, taking a clock or a watch apart and putting it back together, that’s an awesome challenge for me.”

Daigle says that the skills he learned from his family aren’t being passed down like they were when he was younger.

“Along the way, some of the skills were lost and they weren’t passed along the next generation I guess,” Daigle said.

“I always thought that everybody could fix everything because that’s how I was brought up and in my head, OK, anybody can fix that but come to find out, not everybody has those skills to get in there and really fix it.”

Melanson says that the event looks to close that learning gap, and foster an interest in how things work in children.

“We want kids to see how things are taken apart and put back together,” she said, “and have a sense of ownership and stewardship over that item to try and keep it out of the landfill as much as possible and really learn how something ticks.”

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