A meeting at the District of Fort St. James office involved brainstorming and prioritizing on potential plans for the new community hall. There were youth group representatives and seniors advocates and many others.

Dream Big – community hall meeting

Meeting discusses possible future uses and plans for the new Fort St. James community hall

A meeting with potential user groups on the community hall brainstormed potential uses for the facility.

There were representatives of a number of community groups with an interest in using the space, from all demographics, including seniors, youth groups, arts council and political leaders.

The group provided input into potential renovations to bring the community hall building up to fire code regulations, which will be costly, especially if the theatre in the building is going to be kept to be used specifically as a theatre.

Both youth groups members and arts council members spoke in support of trying to maintain the theatre, and so the District’s Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Crook said they will look at the options and costs involved with an engineer to see if it will be possible within the budget.

The existing funding for the community hall will require the work is completed by March 2015, but Crook said he hopes it would be possible to finish the project by 2014.

There were some conditions put on the project, for example, trails connecting the new community hall to the curling rink and arena buildings in order to link the facilities and energy-efficiency in the upgrades.

Some different ideas were brought forward as the group brainstormed and prioritized what they would like to see in the building.

So far, the group proposed a wide range of uses, including using the building as a gathering place for all ages, seniors recreation space, concerts and movie nights in the theatre, creative art space, having a game or arcade room in the building, a non profit office space, or an indoor climbing wall.

The group included some of the original Community Hall Committee members as well, and they seemed to like what they heard.

“It really makes my heart feel good that everyone here has said something around the arts,” said Monica Grill, who has been working on getting a community hall in the community since the last one was torn down.

The work on planning for the community hall will be ongoing for some time yet, and other user groups interested in potentially utilizing the space can get in touch with the Kevin Crook at the District of Fort St. James at 996-8233.

Related: Community Hall coming soon