The Future of our Seniors, Library, Lions Club, and Community as a whole
Our Future Plans:
Our Future Plans:
Town Council and the Multiuse Building Committee are very excited about the development of this project. Early in 2015, the idea to create a multiuse building was discussed by members of Council. Our senior residents were using an aging building that was quickly requiring repairs that would be costly.
The building the senior club currently utilizes was built in 1920. It was originally constructed as the Birch Hills Masonic Lodge. The Lodge continued to be active for many years and, in 1973, the Lodge closed the Masonic Temple and the building was given to the Town of Birch Hills to be used as a Senior Citizen Centre.
This 98 year old building is no longer a safe place for senior recreation and requires many repairs that are not feasible with its age.
The old Co-op grocery store quickly became a building of interest as it had the required space, parking and location. Members of Town Council met with Duane Lowe, and our building inspector, to determine the effectiveness, building requirements, and a general discussion on what we were trying to achieve. Duane Lowe graciously donated his time to create a floor plan that would get us pointed in the right direction, in terms of the planning process, and to most effectively use the spec with which we had to work.
After months of planning and discussion, a decision was made by Mayor and Council to submit an offer on the old Co-op grocery store building and move forward with the project. The offer was made to Pasada Group for the amount of $125,000, which was accepted. Pasada Group also made a donation to the project in the amount of $50,000.
Throughout the planning process, and determining our needs, we also looked at Library space and its usage. The Birch Hills branch of the Wapiti Regional Library has been an integral part of community life and activities since it joined the region in 1958. Over the past 60 years the number of books and members have grown considerably. Therefore, the Library will also be relocated to the Multiuse Building, allowing for increased area, and additional features or uses of the Library including computer stations and interpretive center.
It was additionally determined that we would create a space for the Birch Hills Lions Club. The Birch Hills & District Lions Club was sponsored by the St. Louis Club and became Chartered on May 4th, 1989. The Lions Club organized many major projects within the community. Their first major project was the sports grounds and ball diamonds for a project cost of $225,000. The ‘new’ Lions Park was re-opened in the spring of 1991. Another major project was the purchase of two compressors and ice making equipment assisted with the artificial ice in the skating arena for another project cost of $225,000, with the funds raised through the community from near and far. This includes a wall of fame in the arena. Including the Lions Club in the Multiuse building allows for them to have a permanent meeting room and areas for storage and counter space.
The interior of the building will be completely rebuilt with electrical, heating and plumbing, new walls and flooring. The interior of the building will be completely rebuilt with electrical, heating and plumbing, new walls and flooring. The exterior of the building will also be updated and modernized.
At this point in time, through approximately 200 plus volunteered man hours from the Lions Club, Peak Electric, Town Council and others, the building has been completely stripped of its interior walls and the next phase of mechanical and electrical has started.