Rural Community At Historic Fort McLeod Creates Opportunities For Displaced Forest Workers

McLeod

2012- McLeod Lake is an unincorporated community located north of Prince George that is notable for being the first continuously inhabited European settlement established west of the Rocky Mountains in present-day Canada. Originally named Trout Lake Fort, it was founded by the explorer and North West Company trader Simon Fraser in 1805. It eventually became known as Fort McLeod during the tenure of Archibald Norman McLeod, who was in charge of the post for many years.

In 2009 and 2010, McLeod Lake's Centennial Club revitalized the McLeod Lake Community Hall in order to increase the building's versatility, allowing the community to come together and gather in the hall for a wider variety of events than was ever possible before.

For many years, the hall has been used as a central hub for community clubs and for residents' important events in the rural community of McLeod Lake. The hall also serves the more official purpose as a polling station for all levels of elections and also as the designated emergency response centre for the community in the event of a disaster. The upgrades completed under this project were essential to ensuring in the event of a disaster that this hall would be suitable as a gathering place.

The renovations that McLeod's Lake Centennial Club made to the building include improvements to the interior and exterior of the building as well as to the surrounding hall grounds. The hall was originally constructed as a bunkhouse in 1957 and was converted to the current building and site in 1987 with a grant from Expo 86. Since that time, it has become an important facility for the community acting as a multi-purpose gathering place, and with these improvements will continue as a modernized community hall for years to come.

Positive Economic Impacts in McLeod Lake

This project was focused on providing short-term employment for several forest workers from the McLeod Lake and Mackenzie area in cooperation with Northern Development and the Federal-Provincial Community Development Trust's Job Opportunities Program during difficult economic times in the forestry sector. A key aspect of the hall improvement effort involved purchase of all supplies from local businesses in Mcleod Lake and Mackenzie.

With the community hall newly renovated, there is now increased capacity to perform a wider variety of functions such as wedding receptions, summer camps, and coffee house entertainment - all activities that the older hall could not adequately support. The new uses provide new economic opportunities for several locally operated businesses and also the potential to hire summer students and maintenance personel.