GRAND BANK, NL – What started out as a renovation project by the 50+ club in Grand Bank quickly turned into a bigger initiative involving the town council and local contractors.
“The project developed into much more than we had bargained for,” club president Gerry Antle told those gathered for the official opening of the club Feb. 5.
“But today, we are proud to say we have a $100,000-building with many changes and improvements, a great building for the community to enjoy,” Antle added.
In March 2017, the Grand Bank 50+ club received a $24,495-grant from New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) to do some badly needed renovations.
Antle explained the grant was intended to complete internal improvements, including dismantling the old kitchen and constructing a new kitchen in an adjacent underutilized space, repairing washrooms to make them wheelchair accessible, and providing new flooring and upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems.
He said the club hoped to finish the renovations in six weeks, but early into the project, it became clear this would not happen.
“We realized the building, constructed in 1981, wasn’t structurally sound and any improvements made inside the building would be meaningless until that was fixed,” explained Antle.
Among other things, floor joists and headers around the building were rotten and had to be replaced, steel jacks had to be replaced, and the electrical had to be brought up to code at great expense.
“That’s when the town come on board,” said Antle. “Within a day or two, the council hired a contractor to work with us to do the needed repair. Without the money and help from council, the building would have been shut down.”
Grand Bank Deputy Mayor Clayton Welsh said council fully supported the project, noting he was confident the new facility will get a lot of use by the citizens of Grand Bank.
“This is a wonderful facility, and we really appreciate the work of the members of the club who volunteered their labour to make this a reality,” said Welsh. “Thank you for your volunteer commitment to the town.”
The Town of Grand Bank owns the building.
Burin-Grand Bank MHA Carol Anne Haley attended the opening ceremonies and presented a $5,000-cheque from the provincial Children, Seniors and Social Development Department to help with the renovations.
“The transformation of this building is amazing,” she said.
Constituency assistant Tracy Moores represented Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers at the ceremonies.
In a written statement, Rogers commended the Grand Bank 50+ club for providing the opportunity for seniors to come together and enjoy each other’s company.
“I am especially pleased the federal government was able to contribute to the upgrades on your building through the New Horizons for Seniors program,” Rogers stated. “I am sure the upgrades and improvements to the building will be appreciated by all who use the building.”
Area 3 director Jean Philpott brought greetings from the Newfoundland and Labrador 50+ Federation.
“I wish you all the best in the year ahead. I am sure your president and his executive will do their best to make it happen,” she said.
Club members hold regular monthly meetings, with special celebrations for such events as St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and other special occasions.