There was no grand opening or fanfare when Centennial Park’s stage was finished, no ribbon cutting or champaigne.
Instead, the large community of volunteers behind the scenes stood back and admired the product, took some photos and walked away.
“I think every time (the volunteers) go down there and see an event, it’s going to be a grand opening,” said Allan Roberts, the visionary responsible for initiating the project.
Seeing the stage in its completion “blows me away,” he said. “My original plan was much more modest.”
The owner of Arcada Tent & Event Rentals was inspired by the Gwen Ringwood stage in Boitanio Park, Williams Lake, after supplying tents for a firefighter fundraiser that ended up raising $100,000 over one long weekend.
“The secret was the stage,” he said.
Roberts said he showed his wife, April, a photo of the stage and told her he was going to build one like it.
“Oh, are you? And how does one do that?” he said she asked him. To which he replied, “I don’t know but it’s going to be built.”
He sought a meeting with Brad Johnson and Wally Bramsleven, from Sitka Log Homes, to price out the log work, he said. Three days later, Bramsleven phoned to say it was a wonderful project and he wanted in.
Bramsleven drew up plans and they presented them to council in November, never asking for financial support, only permission to build.
Roberts said approval came quickly and the district was unwavering in its support, offering constant access to the park and even providing the backhoe work.
The entire process proceded with ease, gaining more support at every step.
Roberts or Bramsleven would think of what they needed next, they would inquire with a local expert and next thing they knew they had another volunteer.
They would bump into friends in town and tell them about the project and people would offer up their time or money to help.
Members of the 100 Mile Cruzers even showed up to help pre-stain the logs.
“We didn’t solicit, we didn’t campaign, it was just as casual as me talking to you,” said Roberts with emotion in his voice. “I have nothing but praise and thanks … the generosity has been fantastic.”
It may be hard to believe, but the stage was constructed entirely by the kindness of the community, without using a dime of tax payer dollars.
Roberts remarked how people freely donated “their skill, their equipment, money and time.”
People saw how much a stage would enrich the community and he said helped however they could.
“It’s an old story being retold,” he explained. If someone needed their barn done 100 years ago, they’d call their neighbours and the whole community would pitch in.
Bramsleven mirrored Roberts’ gratitude, saying that’s what 100 Mile is all about, “If we want something sometimes we just take the bull by the horns,” and do it ourselves.
Once construction started, he said they had so much help that the stage only took about six weeks to build from start to finish.
“There’s a lot of pride in this community,” he said.
A brass plaque will be mounted on the stage, thanking everybody who contributed to its creation.
“To some degree it’s a legacy that will stand in 100 Mile House for a long time.”
The stage features potlights in the ceiling and is prepped for lighting and sound. Both Roberts and Bramsleven said they look forward to seeing bands playing in the park.
Anyone interested in scheduling an event should contact the District of 100 Mile House at 250-395-2434.