The site of the future community centre has been busy with activity and this past week contractors were putting finishing touches on many areas of the multi-function building.
The district of Fort St. James has been without a community centre and the 5,000 square-foot building will offer a space for events such as film screenings, replacing the cinema that used to be housed in the building previously. The facility will also be used to host banquets, cultural events and conferences and will service the entire municipality including the communities of Nak’azdli, Tl’azt’en, Yekooche and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
Mike McMillan, foreman with IQ Builders, said there have been a few challenges during the construction phase, but the centre is coming along and work is being completed on the theatre, community hall and racquetball and squash courts.
“We’ve got the guys in doing the courts, and electricians and plumbers in here right now,” McMillan said.
Kevin Cook, Chief Administrative Officer for the district, said although the completion date of the close to $2-million project has been pushed forward a number of times the centre is close to being completed.
“The initial date was supposed to be the end of October,” he said. “They are getting closer, the real hold-up was the power connection. I anticipate it should be really soon.”
Cook said there are a number of options in town for larger and smaller meeting places or conference facilities and the new centre will fill a void in the intermediary requirements of the community. “The conference centre aspect is, I think, one of the big ones,” he said. “It’s an intermediate facility … seats about 275, and will fill the gap in our services that are available locally.”
The community centre which received a $250,000 grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust also received funding from the District of Fort St. James, a couple of provincial grant programs and a local family and will be a benefit to a number of user groups Cook said. He says the facility will offer space for the Seniors Centre and the Legion after its loss of their building this year.
“The Seniors Citizens Association, they want to play carpet bowling in there,” Cook said. “They have been doing it in their little building, but it’s kind of tight.”