The new Integris Credit Union branch building opened on Saturday, August 27, to much fanfare.
It was a big deal, with the big squirrel Stasher, a big cake and plenty of big cheques on hand to mark the occasion.
There was a steady stream of visitors through the new branch, with face painting, hot dogs, popcorn, cake and games for kids.
There was even live music, as Ingrid Gatin and friends played an hour of live music for the crowd. The Winnipeg folk songstress Gatin and her band were in the Fort for Music on the Mountain, and came down to join in the festivities during the opening, livening up the party with some fiddle, stand-up bass, drums and accordion.
Local officials made appearances as well, with a quick stop in by MLA John Rustad, and speeches by Mayor Sandra Harwood and Tom Greenaway of the regional district.
Joan Burdeniuk, branch manager, was recognized for her contribution to the organization and the community, before she came up to give her own speech.
Emphasizing the positive impact the credit union has had on the community over the years, Burdeniuk said Integris has invested over $1.2 million in the area communities since 2005.
One other aspect to the new building pointed out by Burdeniuk was their use of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, in the renovation of the building.
The kitchen range and equipment from the previous business were donated to Echo Lake Bible Camp, the older furnace and windows were also recycled. The vault for the new location was one taken from the old Parkwood branch in Prince George, and the teller wickets were brought over from the old building.
As part of the grand opening, Burdeniuk then announced some new donations to the local community, with $750 going to the Nak’azdli Pee Wee Hockey Team, $500 for the Professional Cooks Program at the College of New Caledonia and a donation to the Fort St. James Secondary Senior Girls Volleyball Team.
The final announcement was for a donation by the Integris Community Foundation for $68,000 towards the construction of a multi-purpose recycling facility in Fort St. James (see story Page X).
The Integris Community Foundation is a growing capital fund for the community. The earnings of the invested funds are then used to give back to the community for charitable purposes.
Twice a year the foundation accepts applications for funding from different projects.
The foundation has invested over $450,000 in Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake since 2002.
After all the announcements were made and much eating of cake and hot dogs, the ribbon was cut and the new branch, located next to the Canada Post Office, was officially opened for business.