Improvements increase bookings and community participation in small Cariboo community
Cracking and shifting concrete stairs leading to a decades-old community hall in a rural Cariboo community required $134,999 in upgrades recently. Bouchie Lake Community Hall is a central gathering space for members of the Bouchie Lake and Miburn Lake communities.
“Rural community halls, like this one in Bouchie Lake, are critically important local facilities that serve the community for social events and celebrations, as well as for active recreation and even in emergency response situations,” said Margo Wagner, Chair of the Cariboo Regional District. “The improvements supported by Northern Development, especially the major hall entrance upgrade, which included a wheelchair ramp and proper insulated vestibule, are so important to ensuring these community assets continue to meet the needs of residents.”
Ribbon cutting ceremony with Wendy Donald, current Commissioner, and Angela Mezzatesta, past Commissioner.
In 2013, the concrete stairs leading to the entrance began shifting away from the building and cracking, creating an unsightly welcome and tripping hazard for all guests. To remedy the problem, the Bouchie Lake Recreation Commission applied for, and received, grants from both the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and Northern Development to alleviate the financial burden that upgrades can create.
With $80,000 from the CRD and $30,000 from Northern Development the project was completed in a timely and appealing manner. The new entrance includes covered stairs and ramp, new exterior lights, handrails and guardrails to ensure people of all mobility levels can safely enter the building to enjoy the benefits of community activities inside.
The following year Northern Development provided a $28,810 grant and more improvements were successfully completed at the hall to maintain essential parts of the structure. The roof was replaced, the existing pumphouse was demolished, a new pumphouse was constructed and new electrical components were installed. While these updates may not garner the same attention of an updated and accessible entrance, they are still critical to the longevity of the structure.
Bouchie Lake Community Hall is in the heart of the community’s larger recreation complex that includes two equestrian arenas, a barn, softball fields, skating rink and a playground. Facilities such as these encourage active lifestyles and keep residents of all ages engaged and connected with each other. Well maintained and up-to-date facilities also contribute to civic pride, resident attraction and increased participation in activities.