Hall gets reprieve

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April 28, 2016 12:00 AM

Fear of bats laid to rest

After a town meeting in Hillmond, it was decided the North Bend Albion Hall will get to live to see a brighter future.
The hall, which was built by a community cooperative in 1927, needs to be restored to meet public health requirements and the RM of Britannia also asked at the Thursday meeting that it be set back 200 ft. on a new foundation to accommodate a proposed road widening.
This led to some contention from community members, as questions about costs came up and the fact that bats had taken up residence in the building’s rafters had people worried they might choose to move in on their own property.
“It finally voted to go ahead and restore it and we set up a new committee with a new board,” said Hugh McKenzie, new president for the North Bend Albion Hall Committee.
“So we had a nice meeting; everything went well and it was well run.”
The hall sits roughly 16 km north of Hillmond on five acres of its own land and is considered a heritage site, with many longtime residents of the area holding onto special memories of building.
McKenzie said he remembers going there for Christmas concerts when he was in first grade, had his wedding dance there as well as his 25th wedding anniversary party.
There were 25 people who showed up for Thursday’s meeting and they nominated nine members to the committee that’ll look into fundraising and applying for grants to get the building put back into shape.
“We’ll go to work and we’ll get it restored and everybody, I think, will be really happy with it,” McKenzie said.
The new committee meets this week to discuss fundraising options and will look at doing some cleaning in the weeks to come.
McKenzie said the first step is to take off the old boards on the inside of the hall before moving it and they have to meet with an inspector to get a clear idea of what else needs to be done.
The committee will also meet with members of the RM of Britannia to see about getting a provincial heritage grant from the government of Saskatchewan to help with the work.
As for the bats, it seems those who were worried about the little night-flying critters had their trepidation put aside, figuring the winged rats would probably just fly away and make homes for themselves somewhere that’s non-problematic.

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