A brouhaha is heating up between the 108 Mile Ranch Community Association (RCA) and the 108 Mile Lions Club over the use of the 108 Community Hall.
At issue is the 1,000-sq. ft. “Lion’s Den” or lower hall, which has been used almost exclusively by the Lions for the past 40 years after they helped to fund and build the community hall. The Lions lease the space from the RCA, which owns the hall on behalf of 108 Mile ratepayers, and they are upset with a suggestion by the RCA that they “share” the space.
The RCA said it would like to rent out the lower hall when the Lions aren’t using it to raise money for the community and for costly upgrades to the hall. According to my rural property tax notice, I paid $17.34 for the hall in 2023.
“We said we want to be able to rent the lower hall when they aren’t using it,” RCA chair Michele Spence said.
To sweeten the deal, the RCA offered to build a storage shed behind the den for the Lions’ possessions, as well as a locked pantry in the kitchen. They also promised to waive the annual rental fee, which was initially $6,000-$7,000 but has been reduced to $1,000 over the years.
The Lions, who currently meet twice a month in the den, took to social media, claiming they are being evicted as of Aug. 31: the date when their items must be removed.
“This Board is not asking to ‘share the space,’ it is telling us that they must be in full control of the space, for the first time in some 40 years of history,” Denny Fahrentholz wrote on Facebook. “No matter what spin the current Board may put on it, the Lions will no longer have access to the Lion’s Den at any time except as the Board permits. The Board wants to restrict the Lions’ usage to two meetings per month, and any other time Lions have to reserve the Lion’s Den 30 days in advance … Apparently history is not relevant.”
There is nothing in writing to suggest the Lions, who are technically a tenant of the hall, should have exclusive control of the space.
But Lions president Don White said in an email that the Lions’ items were accumulated over 35-plus years and need to be accessible. “When requests for assistance are needed, it is usually needed immediately. All planning, prep and storage is done in the Lions’ Den. We no longer have any rights to this space unless approved by the RCA.”
Cariboo Regional District Director Al Richmond — who tried to broker an agreement between the two parties in a joint meeting before the Lions went on social media — said he hopes he can bring them back to the table. He acknowledges it would be a big change for the Lions. At the same time, the RCA has a long list of capital projects needed to maintain the hall. This includes a new roof, repairs to the outdoor building envelope and septic issues.
Richmond noted the RCA will receive $28,000 this year from the CRD for heat, lighting, water and utilities. The RCA currently has about $30,000 in its account for its long list of capital projects.
Richmond declined to comment on what would happen if the two sides can’t reach an agreement.
“We’re hoping we can find a solution.”