Shiny and New - Community Halls Undergo Major Transformations
Three community halls in Brazeau County have undergone major transformations this year, resulting
in more welcoming, modern places for residents.
At the Funnell Hall, Secretary/Treasurer Kathy Westling
says the hall underwent a total overhaul this spring,
with new flooring, a stage, walls, insulation, LED lighting,
furnace, bar area, and exit lights. And all of this came under budget, despite the furnace being an unexpected
The Funnell Community Society received
$55,029 in community hall capital funding from Brazeau
County and $30,814 in funding from the provincial Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP).
“It’s been awesome,” Westling says. “I’ve heard nothing
but good things. I’m so happy about it – we all are.”
Westling is especially proud of a feature wall with local
memorabilia for residents and visitors to enjoy, and the
Community Society celebrated recently with a grand
opening. Next, the Community Society has its sights set
on improving the dugouts at the adjacent baseball field,
which has been leveled and re-seeded.
“We’re hoping soccer or ball teams come out to play,”
Westling says. “We’re open!”
At the Lodgepole Community Hall, Lodgepole Recreational Society president Ed Drangsholt says a large number of improvements means the hall is set up to last a long, long time.
The list of improvements is long: new cupboards, industrial dishwasher, meat-cutting table, linoleum floor, lights, electrical wiring and outlets, and sink, as well as a rebuilt wall and a new coat of paint. Brazeau County provided $47,048 in funding, with matching dollars from CFEP.
“It’s a big change,” Drangsholt says. “The old kitchen was
just a concession for the curling rink; you were just supposed to wheel the food out. We’re blessed with good cooks in Lodgepole, and the old kitchen was no good for cooking.”
Lodgepole residents are happy with the changes, Drangsholt says, and he is looking forward to increased rentals now that the hall offers more amenities.
“It’s great,” he says. “Everyone is really happy so far.”
The Lindale Community Hall Association received $62,969.50 in Brazeau County funding and $57,000 from CFEP to conduct emergency repairs for the Community Hall. Treasurer Rick Ennis says the hall has now been brought up to code, improving and updating wheelchair access, washrooms, insulation, handrails, doors,
and gyprock. The basement was also improved. The project was completed this summer.
“It looks a lot more inviting, and people love it,” Ennis says, adding the community itself came up with substantial donations for the improvements. “We’re proud of ourselves – we’re very active with volunteers.”
The hall is also booked up into 2018, with every weekend between May and August spoken for.
“It’s a nice hall,” Ennis says, and it is well-used: the Community Association hosts a jamboree every month.
Community events, fundraising, and volunteering are examples of why it’s crucial to keep community halls viable in rural communities, which is why partnerships between Brazeau County, granting organizations and community residents are so important.
“You take the hall away, and the community dissolves,” Ennis says.