For a long time it seems like it’s been nothing but work, but Saturday night, April 14, was a time for celebrating. As some of the renovations at the Blackpool Hall are coming to completion, it was time to honour one of the hall’s most active volunteers.
Mel Sasek has been working diligently on this project. He installed all of the flooring in the hallway and back room. In fact, he renovated everything in the back room except the ceiling (which was contracted). So the hall committee – mm, well, uh – sort of gave it to him for a birthday present.
The community helped Mel celebrate his birthday during the coffee house at the Blackpool Hall on April 14. There were two cakes with candles, the whole crowd sang “Happy Birthday” and there was even a speech from a local politician. But the highlight was ‘the present’.
The back room, with its white pine walls, beautifully finished hardwood floors and dart boards, will forever be known as “Mel’s Room”. A large handmade plaque hangs from the post at the entrance to the room as a reminder of one man’s dedication to the project.
It is hard to recognize just one person out of the many who have contributed. Countless hours of labour on the building are added to the countless more hours of fundraising required to generate the thousands of dollars raised by the hall committee for this project. But that says even more about Mel’s contribution.
Donations of labour, materials and money takes one back to the days when the building was originally constructed – in the same manner. But new water systems, kitchen renovations and appliances, metal roofing materials and installations and furnaces cost more than what even the most active community group can raise.
Well over $106,000 in funds have come from gas tax grants, the North Thompson Communities Foundation and Area A director Tim Pennell’s discretionary funds. Residents of the Blackpool fire protection area approved a referendum in 2008 that provides $10,000 annually in operating funds. Further grant applications are in the works to complete the stage and purchase a new sound system among other projects left to do.
It is bringing people back to the community hall; it’s all about developing community. To see this for yourself, just show up at a coffee house on the second Saturday of every month and travel a little ways back in time to when a community got together. It’s always a celebration.