Branch #268 of the Royal Canadian Legion is keeping its doors open

The local Legion doors stay open despite difficulties

Things have changed over the years for Royal Canadian Legions across Canada, and the local branch is no exception.

Things have changed over the years for Royal Canadian Legions across Canada, and the local branch is no exception.

Reopened in April of 2011 after an eight-month closure due to financial difficulties, the local Legion branch has had its share of difficulties since it opened.

While it had been open for late-nights on the weekends, this became a source of problems for the establishment.

“(The customers) get all primed up at home … they’re already not in a good mood,” said Laura Brittain, President of the local legion. “Most of the people were great, but there were the few that just ruined it for everyone.”

With the RCMP attending and bouncers not able to contain the problems coming up, the Legion made the decision to change their hours to only be open until 10 p.m. everyday except Sunday, when they are only open until 8 p.m..

“The idea was to get away from the rough crowd,” said Mark Whitely, past legion president and member-at-large.

While the shorter hours on the weekends leads to less late-night problems, Laura Brittain said they get steadier income over a longer period and need less staff.

“Last couple of months there’s been no problem at all,” said Whitely.

But instead of being open later, the legion will just be showing a few UFC events and their usual offerings of hockey games.

But decreasing memberships may be an issue which require additional innovative solutions.

Two years ago, Royal Canadian Legions across B.C. lost 57,000 members who did not renew memberships, last year another 37,000 members did not renew, according to Whitely.

In order to replace their aging veteran membership, many legions are resorting to trying to attract the younger crowd to help stay open.

Britain and Whitely said the legion still needs to make money in order to support veterans.

The organization helps to financially assist veterans and their families with medical and travel or equipment expenses.

However attracting young crowds can also have its challenges given the legions rely on club liquor licences, which require them to have a number of rules.

This is the reason members and guests have to sign in.

“We’re just trying to keep up with the times,” said Whitely.