DUTCH SETTLEMENT: As Halifax Regional Municipality deems rural community halls surplus, communities or non-profit organizations are granted the opportunity to purchase the buildings for their own use.
This is the hope of community groups in Dutch Settlement and Carrolls Corner, who are looking to take over ownership of the Riverline Activity Centre, which has been in use since the 1950’s.
Tracey Williams is the owner and head instructor for Winding River Taekwondo, and one of the community members working on putting a proposal and business plan together to make their case for HRM to hand over ownership to the Riverline Activity Centre Association.
Between the three week nights she instructs Taekwondo, the two week nights cadets use the space, the Friday night dart league, and special weekend events, she told The Weekly Press, “The hall is being used every night.”
“We’re putting a purchase price on for $1, most halls have been purchased by the community for $1, so we’re going to put in the offer and hopefully we can get that,” she explained, “Steve Streatch our area councillor doesn’t think that it’s going to be a problem because other halls have been purchased for that.”
The association must have their proposal and five year business plan submitted by March 31, it could then take up to a couple of years for the deal to become final, which Williams says, she’s fine with.
“We’re in no hurry, if it takes two more years for HRM to say ‘ok it’s now yours’, then they’re still paying for the bills,” she said.
In the meantime, the association is planning a variety of improvements for the hall, a new floor will be installed any day now, they hope to expand the kitchen to make renting the hall to those wanting to host events a bit easier, they also hope to have a heat pump installed, as the location gets hot in the summer. All of these improvements come at the expense of the community, as HRM only pays for general upkeep of the facilities.
“Later on going down the road we need to look at doing things so that we are able to make money, in case the roof needs to be replaced or something. We don’t need to run at a profit we just need to run above water so we can keep the hall running,” said Williams.