By: Korie Marshall

“Sometimes you have to dream big, and so far, our dreams have been coming true,” says Barb Shepherd, president of the Valemount Lions Club. They’ve just received a renovation grant of $45,000 from the Canada 150 fund, in celebration of Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday. Along with help from Northern Development Initiative Trust and Columbia Basin Trust, they have a total of $134,000 to invest in the club and in expanding the community’s capacity.

The funding started with approval of $34,277 from CBT’s Community Initiatives program, matched by $30,000 from NDIT to make the washrooms wheelchair accessible. That means bumping the front of the building out – the washrooms will be all new construction, and Shepherd says the building already looks much bigger and nicer inside. They originally planned to have the new roof over the entrance extend to the edge of the building, but had to modify that slightly to keep more snow from falling on the neighbouring property.

Shepherd says they were short about $4000 for the project, and applied to the Canada 150 fund introduced late this past spring. The $45,000 from the program will finish off the washroom renos, and then the club will begin expanding the kitchen into the old washrooms. And to complete that,
the funding from the Canada 150 fund is being matched by another $25,000 from CBT.

Shepherd says the payments from the Canada 150 fund will be over the next few years, with the final payment in April 2017 going towards replacing the building’s furnace and water heater. The plan is to switch from propane to electric, with hopes of eventually switching to solar power or some other renewable energy.

“We worked very hard securing the funding as every penny which comes into this community helps economically and socially,” says Lions board member Rita Rewerts. “The non-profit sector in this community is an actual economic component and driver. The community would not and could not function if it was not there.”

“We Lions look forward to hosting a Canada 150 Celebration to showcase the community’s new asset,” says Rewerts.