Editor, The Times:
I’m writing in regards to the ongoing conflict over the use of the old Upper Clearwater Community Hall.
I’m going to stick my neck out at the risk of being thought an “outsider” because I feel I have a unique perspective to offer, having lived in the Upper Clearwater valley from my birth in 1955 until the mid-1980s.
By the 1950s, I believe the CCF (which had built the hall in the 1930s) had morphed into the NDP. The majority of the valley’s men, through the Farmers Institute, held ownership to the hall.
I guess women weren’t considered farmers in those days, even though many of them worked as hard as the men on their respective farms!
Some of the women had formed the Upper Clearwater Women’s Institute, which supported the men and was instrumental in organizing most of the myriad of memorable events that took place at the hall.
I have extremely fond memories of those times, and I have no recollection of there ever being conflict over who was or wasn’t welcome to use the building, whether they were members or not. The hall was simply there for the entire Upper Clearwater community, to enjoy and use as they wished.
Guests from Clearwater and beyond were always welcome, but I’m fairly certain they didn’t hold memberships.
I’m getting the impression that today some long-standing valley residents don’t feel welcome to use the hall.
If this is indeed the case, it’s a terrible shame, and certainly not what was originally intended.
In my later years in the valley I was a young mother and helped to organize events in the hall. I don’t recall ever having to ask permission from the Farmers Institute – it was as simple as picking up the key and going for it.
Everyone in the valley attended, and everyone had a whole lot of fun. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that “old-time” philosophy … all-inclusive, friendly, and simply open to all those who inhabit this beautiful valley I used to call home.