Lions Club seeks to gift iconic community hall to West Kelowna
By John McDonald
The Westbank Lions Community Centre as it looked before the Sept. 1 fire that many thought destroyed the heritage building.
Image Credit: districtofwestkelowna.ca
August 03, 2016 - 5:30 PM
WEST KELOWNA - Increasing costs along with declining membership and revenues is the reason the Westbank Lions Club is trying to “gift” its Main Street hall to the City of West Kelowna.
Club president David Knowles says the membership has already voted in principle to give over to the city the hall he values at approximately $2 million.
Discussions with the city have also taken place although thus far only in camera at a closed meeting, Knowles said. Holding them up now is a ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency about the tax implications.
Knowles estimates is will take another three months before the agency rules on the case although he expects it will be straightforward and allow them out from owning the building he says has become a burden to the service club.
“It’s the age of the building. Our numbers have generally been declining. Basically keeping the hall open is sapping all our energey and resources,” Knowles says. “We are there to serve the community. It is our raison d’être but we are unable to fulfill that because we spend so much time and money on maintaining the hall.”
The current hall dates to 1978, Knowles said, but the first hall on the site was built in 1928.
With such a long community history, Knowles said there was definitely some members who resisted giving up the building.
“It was more poignant for some than others and there was some members against it but I think most of them see the bigger picture,” Knowles said. “This is a win-win-win, a triple win. The community will benefit, the municipality will benefit and the society will benefit.”
Still, the Lions Club members must ratify the deal, as must West Kelowna councillors who have the final say on it.
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