North Oyster Hall benefits from grants

The North Oyster and Area Historical Society has been approved $20,000 in grants to complete projects at the North Oyster Community Hall.

The North Oyster and Area Historical Society has been approved $20,000 in grants to complete projects at the North Oyster Community Hall.

A $5,000 grant from the Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit Fund will enable the society to complete a storage room for chairs and tables, while a $15,000 grant from the Nanaimo Community Foundation will fund completion of one of the centre’s meeting rooms.

Society vice-president Irene Hawthornthwaite said the grants will bring the community centre that much closer to being the community hub the society is hoping for.

“It’s unbelievable how far it’s come,” she said. “It was just a 100-year-old building … saved from the wrecking ball.”

The North Oyster Community Hall is located on Cedar Road and is used for room rentals, meetings, weddings and birthday parties, as well as a craft sale every Sunday.

The society is looking for skilled people in the community who may want to utilize the space to start up a seniors’ group or exercise program.

“We’re open to anything like that,” Hawthornthwaite said. “We’re looking for people who will start these projects.”

The Nanaimo Community Foundation has pitched in money to help renovations for the building in the past.

In 1997, a grant of $8,700 was given to re-shingle the roof. In 2005, a grant of $14,700 was used to install the six front windows and both exterior and interior steel doors.

More recently, FortisBC chipped an in-kind donation worth $30,000 to renovate the hall’s kitchen in May. FortisBC workers used equipment and supplies purchased at RONA to level the property, landscape it, paint the building and build a storage shelf in addition to the kitchen renovation.

Hawthornthwaite gave kudos to all of the directors, organizations and volunteers who have lent a helping hand over the years.

“They’ve all given of their time and energy in building this thing and getting it to where it’s at,” she said.