Lochaber Community Renewal Project Update – Feb. 2012

Since the last update there has been a lot of activity by a large group of people with regard to making what we are calling “The Lochaber Centre” a reality.

The fundraising committee, thanks to their hard work and the generosity of residents and friends of Lochaber, has raised an outstanding amount from personal and business pledges of financial support. To date the total is over $300,000, and it continues to grow. If you are one of those who has made a commitment to financially support our project, we thank you. Fundraising is an ongoing effort so, If you haven’t yet made a pledge, but are interested is supporting us, we will certainly welcome whatever contribution you feel that you would like to make. To get a pledge form click here.

The fundraising committee has made a presentation to the Municipality that was very well received, and has recently submitted a funding application to provincial Health Promotion and Protection. We are hopeful that we will get a positive response from both these organizations. Applications for funding support will soon be submitted to The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and to the Nova Scotia Dept. of Economic Development.

The building and outdoor committees have been working enthusiastically on the design and the process of going from a dream to the reality of having an amazing community centre.

The centrepiece of this project is the new Sylvan Hall. It is planned to be about 5,000 ft² in area all on one level. That compares with the existing hall which has 1,800 ft² on each of the two levels. It will almost certainly be located on the northwest part of the ball field side of our property, close to the lake and will be oriented to give a good view down the lake through large windows. The great room will be large enough to seat approximately 150 people for a meal or over 200 when tables aren’t used. Plans call for other rooms including a fitness/exercise room, a professional type kitchen with adjoining space to allow for cooking classes and small gatherings, a seniors room, a multipurpose room for groups that don’t require a space as large as the great room, and a bar.

The most exciting aspect of the outdoor part of the project is the prospect of creating a venue for competitive rowing on the lake. Lochaber Lake is arguably the best natural setting in Nova Scotia for a rowing facility. The LCDA approached the St. F. X. and Antigonish rowing clubs regarding their interest in partnering is this endeavour, and were greeted with a high level of enthusiasm. The activities associated with rowing and paddling competitions have the potential to provide a not insignificant shot in the arm to the local economy.

Other new outdoor features that are being planned include walking trails around the property perimeter and along the picturesque brook that crosses the property, an all season multi use tennis/basketball/ball hockey/ice skating area, a community garden, outdoor exercise stations along the walking trails and some combination of horseshoes, bocce and/or lawn bowling. The swimming area will be improved and expanded. A dog walking and exercise area will be retained, as will the gazebo and the playground. The treed area behind the current hall will be spruced up to create a park like setting. Parking has always been seriously limited at the hall. A large parking area will be set aside next to the new hall, and the area of the existing hall will contain an area for overflow parking.

The above provides a brief summary of some of the ideas and plans that have been worked on to date. It is by no means complete. One of the many steps that has already been taken is to have the LCDA property surveyed. If you are interested in having a look at the survey you can do so by clicking on this link. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding The Lochaber Community Renewal Project, please send them by e-mail to ask@lochaber.ca.

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