The Beaver Creek Community Club is looking for new members and new funding to keep the club operating after COVID-19 restrictions hit hard.
Back in 2019, the club celebrated its 70th birthday with the grand opening of a new playground. The barnyard-themed playground that sits outside of the hall, located at 8505 Beaver Creek Road in the Alberni Valley, was the result of a number of grants and volunteer hours, says current president Neil Clement.
While COVID-19 has prevented the hall’s indoor space from being used, Clement says the outdoor space is still popular with children and young families. Although the hall is technically located in the Beaufort electoral area instead of Beaver Creek, the playground is enjoyed by both Beaufort and Beaver Creek residents alike—and even some city residents.
“It’s a nice park out here,” said Clement. “It’s a big draw for the community.”
In 2020, the club started renovating its kitchen with the intention of using it for rentals, and also resurfaced the basketball court.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 interrupted the club’s regular fundraisers and events—potluck dinners, dances, the Halloween Howl and Spring Fling—which meant there was no funding available when the club discovered that the compressor on its heat pump had died earlier this year. Luckily, the club received some funding from the Port Alberni Lions Club to help cover this unexpected cost.
“We got some big bills at the wrong time,” Clement acknowledged.
As a volunteer-run organization, the club relies on fundraising and donations to maintain the hall. While some small fundraisers have helped to fill the gaps, the club is struggling to meet its $10,000 yearly operating expenses.
Right now, the club’s priority is gaining new members. Membership has gone down since the pandemic was declared, which means there are fewer volunteers to help sustain the club.
“To see what this community has done already—we don’t want to lose it,” said Clement. “There are new people who have moved here who don’t even know about the club. We want to get more people involved.”
Clement says he is hoping to bring the community back together with a BBQ once restrictions are fully lifted. Some upcoming accessibility improvements also offer a chance to bring more people out to hall, said Clement.
“When I talk to people about this, they get excited,” said Clement.
The Beaver Creek Community Club has applied for some grant funding through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative to make the hall’s outdoor space more accessible.
The proposed improvements include landscaping around the playground and basketball court, wheelchair paths from the parking lot to the basketball court and playground, a pathway behind the basketball court for walking and biking, additional picnic tables and benches and improved WiFi for outdoor areas.
In the meantime, the hall is starting to open back up to visitors. Currently, the club hosts a “Baby Beavers” event every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for parents of babies aged 0 to 18 months. The club also has some pickleball equipment available and is looking for interested players to start up some games.
The best way to contact the club is through the Beaver Creek Community Hall Facebook page. If you are interested in contributing financially to the club, a fundraiser can be found on GoFundMe called “Help Save Beaver Creek Community Hall!”