In June, Northern Development’s Prince George Regional Advisory Committee approved a $30,000 Community Places grant to the McBride Elks Lodge #247 for increasing the accessibility and efficiency of the Elks Hall. The Elks Hall was constructed in 1913 and is the second oldest building in McBride, and the oldest continually used building in the community.
“Installing a fully accessible entrance will allow equal access to people, including those with physical and mental disabilities, who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized from events,” said Eugene Runtz, exalted ruler, McBride Elks Lodge #247. “Having an accessible building is extremely important to our seniors and all community members. It not only allows for access to activities but allows all people to contribute to be part of the working social activities of the community.”
Investing in a welcoming place where people can gather to contribute to their community benefits individuals’ mental and social well-being while also bettering the village and making it more attractive place to live, work and visit. Once the accessibility and efficiency project is complete, the Elks Hall will be able to comfortably welcome everyone without marginalizing people that may have been previously excluded. The Elks Hall hosts an array of community events, from voting opportunities to local markets and celebrations to funerals.
Upgrading the main entrance is anticipated to reduce annual heating expenses by 25 per cent. Along with replacing the old oil furnace with a new high efficiency propane furnace will allow the McBride Elks Lodge #247 to keep their operating costs low and continue to provide an inclusive place for people to gather at no cost or low cost.
Funding for this inclusive project comes from Northern Development’s Community Places grant program. Introduced in September 2020, the funding program supports the creation, restoration or enhancement of community spaces that will improve amenities and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. Eligible projects must be community oriented. Up to $30,000 in grant funding is availableto a maximum of 70 per cent of the eligible project budget.