The proposed Fort St. James Community Centre received good incentive to keep pushing forward in their fundraising efforts on March 22, 2012.
A contribution of $500,000 was presented by Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad to Mayor Rob MacDougall, as well as members of District Council and the Community Centre Committee. The funds are part of the Community Recreation Program announced by Premier Christy Clark in October of 2011.
“It was the first opportunity to write a grant after the downturn,” said Ann McCormick, who has been on the committee since the beginning. “We just grabbed it.”
While the group had applied for $1 million, they were still pleased with the grant and are hopeful it will now lead to more, after what seemed like a long period where no federal or provincial funding was available to apply for.
McCormick called it “an endorsement from the province” which shows they see the value in the project and the work which has already gone into the plan.
“It was a really good feeling,” she said.
Planning for the Fort St. James Community Centre began in 2007 with a sizeable donation from the Hoy family of $500,000 to be used as incentive to build other contributions from community and government.
Plans for the centre would see an extension built on to the existing Fort Forum Arena and would include a kitchen upgrade, foyer extension, a 250-person meeting space, performance stage, and a 1,000 square foot multi-purpose recreation court.
Other funds secured for the project include a $400,000 Grant from the Province’s Towns for Tomorrow program in 2009. Preliminary design plans suggest a price tag of $3.8 million for the construction, leaving a shortfall at this point of $2.4 million.