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District of 100 Mile House to recommission murals on community hall

Three murals will be moved to a new location ahead of upgrade
The District of 100 Mile House plans to upgrade the Community Hall into a gathering place. (District of 100 Mile).

The District of 100 Mile House plans to recommission three large murals on the 100 Mile Community Hall ahead of an extensive renovation of the Birch Avenue facility.

The District announced last week that it will take ownership of the hall, effective Sept. 1, after having entered into a purchase agreement with the Community Club Society, for a nominal fee of $1. The non-profit society has independently owned and operated the 100 Mile Community Hall since 1954.

Coun. Maureen Pinkney, whose grandfather built the hall, said taking over the facility and upgrading it is “near and dear to my heart.”

She noted the facility had been run by volunteers and money was “super tight” after it was difficult to rent out over the past few years.

“In this day and age with volunteers not stepping up like they used to, it was important that we stepped in and saved it,” Pinkney said. “I’m looking forward to getting it revamped.”

One of the primary goals of the venture is to ensure the community has a “suitable, cost-effective indoor venue for large, in-person events” such as performances and other live events, according to the district. Upgrades will include an expanded kitchen, improved meeting facilities, a collapsible stage, new roof and exterior updates, and upgrades to the building’s mechanical systems.

100 Mile Community Club Society president Linda Jefferson said the hall had been renovated and updated with grant money and donations over the years, but “the time is right for an ownership change and a major upgrade.”

“We are pleased to have the District of 100 Mile House take over the community hall,” Jefferson said in the media release. “Our members are looking forward to seeing, ‘Our Community Gathering Place’ renovated and updated to meet the needs of our growing town.”

The district will also work with representatives of the former 100 Mile Mural Society to ensure the hall’s signature murals are recreated or relocated before the hall upgrades are started in 2023.

The murals are dedicated to humanitarian Shirley Case, the 100 Mile House Legion Branch 260 and Ross Marks, who came to 100 Mile in 1948 as a 21-year-old for a summer job and became the district’s first mayor. Dwayne Davis had painted all three of the murals, with Neil Pinkett contributing to the Legion one.

Pinkney said they have reached out to the family members of those in the murals and will contact business owners to see if they can find suitable spaces to relocate them. She noted she has already heard from some family members who are concerned about moving the murals.

“They mean a lot to them,” she said. “We want to honour them and hopefully do what we can for them.”

The cost of recommissioning the murals has been rolled into the overall budget for the project, expected to be upwards of $1.5 million. Pinkney said the district will pay for the project using mostly grants.

“We’re not going to go out and tax the taxpayer for this,” she said.

Mayor Mitch Campsall said the district is excited to work with the Community Club on the project.

“A multi-use facility in the downtown core is good for our local economy, our residents’ quality of life, and all the groups and individuals who will be able to utilize the space for events.”

All current rental rates established by the Community Hall Society shall remain in place. Effective Sept. 1, bookings can be done through the District Office.

Information on rates, policies, and the history of the hall can be found at: community/arts-culture-recreation/100-mile-house -community-hall.

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