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‘Awesome’ community hall gets flag poles

Councillor Charlie Fox wants the Township to cover the cost of installing flag poles at the renovated Willoughby Community Hall after cost overruns forced the community hall society to trim its budget - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
Councillor Charlie Fox wants the Township to cover the cost of installing flag poles at the renovated Willoughby Community Hall after cost overruns forced the community hall society to trim its budget
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

Cost overruns on the Willoughby Community Hall renovations meant there wasn’t enough money to cover the cost of flag poles at the heritage building.

Councillor Charlie Fox convinced the rest of Township to fix the problem at the Feb. 24 afternoon council meeting by taking $15,000 from a municipal contingency fund.

The money will pay for three poles to fly the Canadian, B.C. and Township flags at the front corner of the hall site at 83 Avenue and 208 Street.

The hall, built in 1937, was recently relocated on its site to a new foundation to make room for the Athenry Gate development next door.

Renovations funded by the Willoughby Community Hall Society have included a washroom, an additional outside entrance for the basement, new kitchen appliances and refinishing the main floor.

But there have been cost overruns, as detailed in a Feb. 23 letter to Township council from society board of directors president Karl Dreise.

The include a higher-than-expected insurance bill for the building move and renovations, revisions to the architectural drawings for basement add-ons and creation of a fire plan that together added more than $8,000 in expenses.

“These were essentially paper costs which took away from the physical improvements we could make,” Dreise wrote.

Flag poles were on the “original list of enhancements” for the hall before the costs went up, the letter stated.

It goes on to say the society fully supports the Township installing flag poles as a “finishing touch” to the front of the hall.

Councillor Fox said the rebuilt community hall should have proper flag poles.

“People are going to be blown away by this hall,” Fox said.

“It is truly awesome.

Councillor Kim Richter suggested the flag poles from the former Township Hall in Murrayville could be moved to the Willoughby hall rather than buying new poles.

“That would save some money, I would think,” Richter said.

Other members of council were not enthusiastic about the idea.

“It’s like taking something that’s bent, straightening it and saying that’ll do,” said Councillor Grant Ward.

Councillor Bob Long thought the Township should get the federal and provincial governments to chip in for two of the three poles.

The vote to pay for the poles passed 8-1 with Richter opposed.

After paying for the flag poles, staff estimate about $150,000 will remain in the contingency fund.

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