Community Hall won't be torn down after all

The Westbank Lions Community Centre as it looked before the Sept. 1 fire that many thought destroyed the heritage building.
Image Credit: districtofwestkelowna.ca

WEST KELOWNA - The Westbank Lions’ Hall that was thought destroyed by a suspicious fire two months ago may not be torn down after all.

According to Westbank Lions club president Wayne Atkinson, the heritage building, which was built in the 1930’s, will be completely repaired and continue to serve residents of West Kelowna for years to come.

“We found out this week, from the District of West Kelowna Structural Engineers that they’re going to fix the building and it should look much the same as it did before,” says Atkinson.

The fire started at around 8 a.m. Sept. 1 and burned for more than an hour, thanks in part to sawdust-based insulation in the walls. It was thought at the time to have been completely destroyed.

“From the outside, the building looked devastated,” says Atkinson, “but on the inside, the damage is mostly contained to the front wall and half of the roof.”

Despite requiring several structural upgrades, including a steel support beam, trusses, and floor and roof replacement, repair of the large community hall appears to be the most cost-effective option, says Atkinson.

“Some people thought they should have a nice, new building, but I think if the old building is savable, there’s a lot of history there and it should be saved.”

He hopes the new roof will be in place by early December and to see completion by August, 2014.

“I expected to be in it sooner,” Atkinson says, “but they said at the beginning that it would be about a year. It’s looking like that will still be the case.”

Total repair costs are not yet know, however the building was insured.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.


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