By: Korie Marshall

The exterior renovations on the Tete Jaune Hall are almost complete. Ainslie Jackman, secretary for the Tete Jaune Community Club, says the renos on the washrooms haven’t started yet, but the exterior should be done in a few days. She says the club plans to have an open house, perhaps in October when the work is complete.

In operation since 1948, the hall has been a meeting place for the community, for yard sales and fundraisers, farmers markets and dances for years, and was established as a taxable service under the Regional District in 2000. Upgrades to the building, including adding a covered deck, replacing the ramp at the front, making the washrooms accessible and replacing windows with larger, energy efficient windows, were originally proposed in 2012, but the funding application was not successful at that time.

Then in October 2013, Employment and Social Development Canada notified the Regional District that more funds were available under the Enabling Accessibility Program, and the project could be reconsidered. Together with funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust and some money and in-kind work, the funding has been approved, and the contract was awarded to Lewis Enterprises.

Ainsley Jackman, secretary of the Tete Jaune Community Club, says the existing concrete ramp is narrow and not very user-friendly. The new ramp will be longer, and the covered porch at the front as well as the south side will allow access to both doors, with some room for seating as well. Jackman says they can’t allow vehicles to drive over the area south of the building, because that is the leach field for the septic system, installed in July 2013, so the club hopes to turn the area into a garden. Already some trees and shrubs have been donated and planted.

The existing washrooms are not wheelchair-accessible. The renovations include making both washrooms accessible, and will mean using up a bit of the storage room in the south-east corner to expand the ladies’ washroom.

The club is also hoping to apply for funding from the federal New Horizons for Seniors program, to upgrade the dishwasher to commercial grade, to ensure dishes are properly sanitized for public use during community events. A commercial dishwasher will require an upgrade to the power service from 100-amp to 200-amp, so the application includes the power upgrade, as well as programs for seniors, since many of the local residents are seniors.