By Lawrence Powell
The Centrelea Community Hall is exactly the same age as Canada, and Friday it received some much-needed help from the country’s capitol with a cash infusion of almost $20,000 to keep it going into the future.
Anne Crossman, president of the Centrelea Community Club, the group that runs the hall and looks after its upkeep, gave a brief history of the building at a small gathering Friday afternoon.
“It was built in 1867 as a school,” she said. “Originally, it was located where the front lawn of the old United Elastic/Britex building is today. It became the Centrelea Community Club in 1960 when it was moved where we are today.”
Its current location is a few kilometres east of the now-dormant Britex building, a few metres off Highway 201. Since 1960, it’s been a focal point for the community and continues to be the site of numerous gatherings.
“There have been dances, wedding receptions, birthday parties, funeral receptions, New Year’s Eve parties, Christmas dinners, ball games, card evenings, T’ai Chi sessions, a legal seminar, municipal elections, Sunday school classes, church functions, and some great fundraising meals over the years,” said Crossman. “I’m sure there are people here today who remember lots of good times in this hall.”
Crossman said that last year the province mandated fire inspections for all community halls.
“We asked to be inspected sooner rather than later so we could get done whatever needed to be done,” said Crossman. “Our inspector said we had to remove the wall paneling as it was not fire rated – so now we have this brightened up room thanks to our own fundraising and some help from Annapolis County.”
Last spring the community club applied for a New Horizons for Seniors Program grant to do some much-needed upgrading. “The board wanted to put the hall in a condition that would see it through the next 10 years,” Crossman said.
West Nova MP Greg Kerr was at the Centrelea Community Hall to announce that the funds the board sought were indeed granted.
Diversity of Skills
“Our government recognizes the diversity of skills, knowledge, and experience that seniors contribute to our society and our economy,” Kerr said. “Through initiatives suchs as the New Horizons for Seniors Program, we are helping to ensure that seniors maintain a high quality of life and continue as active, participating members of their communities.”
Funds for the Centrelea Community Hall were in the amount of $19,953. With the financial assistance, the organization will be able to undertake major renovations to ensure the numerous activities supporting social participation and inclusion of seniors will continue.
Kerr made the funding announcement on behalf of Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors).
The money will help pay for the hall’s new roof, a new furnace, and reconstruction of the back basement wall, among other things.
Since its beginning, the New Horizons for Seniors Program has funded more than 10,400 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada. This year, the Government of Canada will provide more than $35.6 million in funding for almost 2,000 community projects.