The first phase of upgrades to the 70 Mile House Community Hall was finally completed last week, with committee members now looking to the community to help raise funds to finish off the project.
70 Mile House Community Club treasurer Mariam Livingston said there is no money left from the Phase 1 budget, funded by government gas tax funding, and they are now considering fundraising options for Phase 2, which include upgrades to the bathrooms and the kitchen.
The issue came up at the recent Community Club AGM on Sept. 18, which attracted 15 people. There was no change in the executive board with Ken Huber returning as chairman, Livingston as treasurer, Joy Gammie as secretary and Ray Paulokangas as director at large.
Livingston said Huber spoke at the AGM about what was done during the Phase 1 work.
“There were a lot of comments about how good the community hall looked and how bright it was now with the windows in the gable ends letting in a lot of light,” she said.
She noted they hoped to get Phase 2 started in the spring, but were concerned about the fourth wave of COVID- 19, which will likely limit the number of people who can gather at a public event, such as a fundraiser. This will cut down on the committee’s opportunity to have major fundraisers in the refurbished hall.
The problem is compounded by the fact the committee couldn’t do any fundraising in the hall during Phase 1 of the upgrades. However, Livingston said the committee hopes they will be able to hold a couple of smaller fundraisers at the hall, including bingo and the annual Christmas Craft Fair.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District Area E (Bonaparte Plateau) Director Sally Watson who played a huge role in getting the Gas Tax funding for the Community Club, noted the committee spent most of the Gas Tax money that was available.
Watson added the committee also had huge hydro bills to keep the power on during Phase 1 of the upgrades, but noted the hydro bills were covered by her area’s recreation and COVID relief funds.
Now it is up to the community to step up and raise the funds for phase 2 of the project, Watson added.
“It’s a tough one,” she said. “We’re really going to have to do some community fundraising and some of our own work.”
Watson said there was little or no possibility of getting help from a grant writer because they have no money to pay them and there aren’t many grants available to help finish the hall.
“Actually, I think this is on the community because so much came from the government. Now, we as a community need to really prove ourselves … our initiative to get this done. A lot of grants are 50/50 or 60/40 grants,” she said. “There’s a community component [to pay for a project] and the Gas Tax paid for all of [Phase 1] without a community component and now it’s our turn as a community.”
On the bright side, Watson noted there are new people moving into the communities in the hall catchment area.
“Involving them and getting them involved in the appreciation of how important it is to have a community space … holding on and working on our community hall is very important.”
Watson said the upgraded hall could provide a lot of education programs, such as a community kitchen to teach community food security or other self-help programs.
The Seventy Mile Access Centre (SMAC) management crew has some great news.
SMAC treasurer Kathleen Judd said several years of hard work has paid off as SMAC has finally seen its society number reinstated.
It is also offering its Coffee’s On event, starting Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday. “Meet your neighbours and enjoy homemade soup and goodies,” she said.
Judd added the popular event will be held in the gymnasium at SMAC on Tuesdays and everyone is welcome.
Please enter at the gym door, she said, adding they hope to see everyone soon.
“It’s nice to see something being back to normal.”
Judd noted the food pantry is also still going strong.
“People can come in to sign up and no questions asked.”
SMAC is looking for someone to rent the teacherage (small house in front of the Access Centre).
Judd said they are not renting the teacherage out to just anyone because they want the person who rents it to be the SMAC caretaker.
Duties would include feeding wood into the outdoor burner to heat the old school, snow removal, cutting grass in summer, doing a weekly garbage run and general light-duty maintenance, such as changing light bulbs.
Shortly after they sold the 70 Mile House General Store, Miguel and Krista Vieira purchased the Horse Lake Garden Centre from Roger and Marcia Stratton, who owned it for 12 years. The Strattons are staying in the area to train the new owners.