The Port Alberni Athletic Hall will be more accessible with the installation of a new wheelchair lift, but the volunteer driven organization is short $5,000 to pay for it.
Athletic Hall president Larry Spencer said it took two-and-half years for the organization to raise $35,000 towards the $40,000 cost to install the lift, which will bring people from the lower lobby to the upper lobby inside the hall.
The hall was built in 2010 after a fire destroyed the previous building, which was located on Beaver Creek Road.
“We finally have [most] of the money,” Spencer said, explaining there was no money to install a lift when the building was being built.
“We still need about $5,000 to $6,000, but we ordered it anyway because we feel with our rentals, we will get the amount. We’re still trying to get donations though.”
The lift was ordered last week and Spencer expects it will be installed and operational by October. He thanked the community for both donating funds and renting the facility. Once the lift is installed, Spencer said the hall will focus on raising enough money to install electric signage, similar to the one outside the high school, and then do some paving.
However, money needs to be saved up before the hall makes further investments.
“We don’t want to spend money we don’t have, like putting it on credit,” Spencer said. “We wait and purchase what we need once we can afford it.”
Currently the hall is being used as a dormitory for the annual West Coast Hockey Prep Camp.
The Port Alberni Athletic Association was formed in 1931 by a group of businessmen that got together to purchase the first athletic hall, which was built in 1925. The original building was replaced in 1958 and the second hall burned down in 2009. The third hall was built in 2010, but in a different location so several sporting facilities could be located in one area.