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Legion interested in community hall

An end to the Westlock and District Community Hall saga may be in sight after members of the Westlock Legion proposed using the hall as their new headquarters.

An end to the Westlock and District Community Hall saga may be in sight after members of the Westlock Legion proposed using the hall as their new headquarters.

At the community hall board’s AGM on March 1, Steve Folkins, Avril Campbell and a few other Legion members expressed interest in relocating to the hall, although no formal proposal has been made.

“All we’ve done so far is shown some interest,” said Campbell, the Legion’s branch manager.

Folkins, the Legion’s poppy chairman, said club members have been tossing around the idea of a new location for several months. They had looked at a few other facilities when they saw the report on the community hall’s woes in last week’s Westlock News.

That story was the impetus to attend the hall’s meeting to talk to the board members, he said.

Campbell agreed with this, saying, “we thought we’d go over and talk to the president and see what he has to say about it.”

However, Folkins stressed that right now, the community hall is simply another potential new location. The Legion still needs to sit down with members of the hall to better assess whether the facility could indeed meet the Legion’s needs.

That analysis is scheduled to be ready to present to the community hall board at its April 12 meeting. At that time the Legion will have determined if it wants to further discuss taking over the hall.

Community hall board president Michael McIntyre said he views the Legion members’ proposal as a reasonable one, but acknowledges it may not come to fruition.

“It’s a Legion decision as to if they ever want to relocate,” he said, adding the idea was not a formal Legion proposal.

He also said he knows there would be Legion members opposed to a move because the current location is nicely centralized downtown.

McIntyre’s position is that should the Legion come forward with a formal declaration of intent, the hall board would be accommodating.

“Existing board members are running out of energy and enthusiasm for continuing to try to make ends meet for a facility for which it has been made difficult to make ends meet,” he said.

Nonetheless, he added there may be enough people who are members of the community hall who would want to keep the hall independent. In short, while he believes the board would be in favour of handing over the hall, that doesn’t mean the membership necessarily would be.

Moving forward, the hall board will wait for the Legion to complete its report before any further steps are taken, McIntyre said.

“There’s more of a commitment on our end than there is on theirs,” he said.