Renovations to the dated Cloverdale Legion will be going forward in the coming months.
The legion applied for the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program which is part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration.
The program states that through investments in community infrastructure, “the Government of Canada will invest in projects that celebrate our shared heritage, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for Canadians.”
The program plans to invest $150 million over two years to support projects that rehabilitate existing community facilities across Canada, this includes legions.
The website also says in Western Canada, which has a $46.3-million budget, “strong preference will be given to projects that are undertaking meaningful upgrades to existing cultural and community facilities; upgrades that will provide long-term benefits to a community, will be viewed with pride by a community and are recognized as a lasting legacy from Canada 150.
Glenn Thomsen, the chairman of the legion’s building renovation committee, said he was told about the grant by city councillor Dave Woods.
Thomsen said the legion had done a survey of the membership, which indicated that the members wanted to stay at their current location, and use some of their reserve fund to “renovate and modernize the building.”
Thomsen said with the mail-out survey to the legion’s 1,800 members, they learned that 67 per cent of the respondents wanted to stay at the location, while using 50 per cent of their own building reserve money.
“So with that in mind, and this government grant coming out, we applied for a grant. We had a budget of $310,000 and the grant basically allowed for the federal government to fund 50 per cent of the total budge of the renovation.”
In the end, the budget was altered a bit because of some “ineligible renovations” that wasn’t accepted, according to Thomsen.
“The total budget was reduced to $304,00 and hence the federal government’s grant is $152,000.”
The way the grant is structured means the legion must spend their portion of the budget first, which they can start anytime, but the federal government money isn’t available until April 2016. The legion has a year to submit the invoices to the federal government.
Thomsen said the building is “very sound,” but it needs to be cosmetically modernized.
“We have to remember the building is 60 years old and there’s been no renovations to it in the last 60 years.”
The current legion building reopened in 1957 after the original building completely burned down in August 1956.
“We’re going to do things like new floor coverings, new dance floor, renovating of the kitchen, we’re going to modernize the bar. and renovate all three washrooms,” Thomsen said. “We’re going to run a new sewer hook-up because we have issues with the sewer hook-up.”
They plan to give the exterior a more modern decor.
Thomsen said there are about seven or eight individual phases within the application. He added some phases might be “awkward” for the members, but with other renovations, the members won’t even notice they’re being done.
“Our whole intent is to try and keep the legion completely operational while we’re doing this. At most, maybe two or three days of closure, but minimal inconvenience to the members.”
Thomsen hopes renovations will begin within the next two to three months and finish in about two years.