Silverdale Hall facing uncertain future

The community centre has been an institution in Silverdale since its opening in 1952

The annual Silverdale Garage Sale was held at the community hall last weekend.

The venerable Silverdale Hall is running out of money and could close its doors.

According to Silverdale Community Centre Association president Mike Scudder, the reserves have been nearly drained and the odd event scheduled in the hall is keeping the lights on.

“We are in dire straits,” he said Monday. The annual Silverdale Garage Sale that was held over the weekend has helped out, and the amount raised is enough to pay the bills for another month. But aside from that, there is one event coming up, and not much else.

The association has been struggling for a year, said Scudder, and a combination of high utility costs, the recent economic downturn, and a current penchant for people to choose less “rustic” venues has seen fewer groups seek out the hall for rental.

Additionally, the catering work has dried up, he added, due to the aging cadre of volunteer caterers who are unable to help out as they once did.

“I’ll move heaven and Earth to make sure [it doesn’t close], but we face some difficulties come fall,” he said.

The situation may be turning around, though.

Fifty new people have signed on as members thanks to the efforts of Dale Clark, and Scudder has been in contact with BC Hydro and is trying to find a way that the crews working on the dam upgrades could utilize the hall.

Honourary member Mike Donatelli helped bring the hall to life in 1952 and has seen how local residents can galvanize around the building.

“We’ve got to stir up the community. I think we need some new blood in the hall” and for people to get involved. “I think it can happen again,” he said.

The community centre can hold 200 people, has a full-size kitchen and people can now bring in their own caterers, something that was verboten for years.

The tight-knit nature of areas such as Silverdale make the hall still relevant, according to Scudder, and the site has been a well-established gathering place for everything from all-candidates meetings, public hearings, flu shots, and more.

For more information, call 604-826-2426.

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