Rural Residents In Topley Work Together On Their Community Hall’s First Renovation In Fifty Years

Topley Community Club

2012-The Topley Community Club was formed over fifty years ago to foster the general welfare and progress of the small rural community of Topley, which is located near Granisle and Burns Lake in the central interior. The club provides a number of recreation programs within the community and owns and maintains the community hall and its surrounding property. The hall, which was built in 1958, serves as church, gymnasium, entertainment centre, and community gathering place for every major event that occurs each year in Topley. The hall is used to run many community events, and is rented out for funerals, weddings, elections, family reunions, sports, recreational and educational events. The hall is also the community's mustering point and emergency shelter in the event of a disaster.

For the first time in over fifty years, Topley's community hall underwent a major round of renovations in 2009. The renovations included installing energy efficient doors, insulating and replacing the interior walls and the ceiling, upgrading the hard wood floors, replacing the kitchen walls and floor, upgrading the kitchen cabinets, upgrading the storage room, installing two wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and replacing the stairs to the stage. This renovation was needed in order to conform with current building and safety codes. Every aspect of the renovation project was sourced locally within the community and surrounding region, providing a source of employment during difficult economic times in the area.

In addition to the renovations, a new well was dug in order to provide clean, potable drinking water to the community recreation hall. The Topley Community Club plans to expand the renovation to include the neighboring outdoor ice rink. Sides will be constructed around the rink, which will then be flooded using the newly dug well to make the ice.

"The improvements to the Topley Community Hall have been a marvelous uplift for the community. Since the upgrades have been completed, we have seen a great increase in the usage of the hall and expect to see the number of events continue to grow. We are very greatful for Northern Development's help and ongoing support from the initial planning process to the completion of the project."

Brenda Pask, President, Topley Community Club

Positive Economic Impacts in Topley

Renovating the Topley community hall has ensured continued access to residents and other users, and contributes to the quality of life in the community. Increased revenues from hall rentals have also been reported, which can be related to an increased number of events in the facility due to the comfort and appearance of the hall as well as new kitchen that has made catering events a new source of revenue for the facility as well as for part-time local employment and volunteer opportunities. Since it is the only facility that is capable of serving as an Emergency Operations Center, it is a necessity for the town, and provides peace of mind to the citizens of Topley.

With the completion of this major project, the community hall's financial sustainability has been improved, helping ensure another fifty years as the hub of community events in this close knit rural community in the northern interior.