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rec centre

In the early 1980’s a group was formed with the goal of building a gymnasium next to the Saturna Elementary School. Melanie Gaines, school principal, at the time and the late Bob Rodway, Lion President, at the time were part of the group that initiated the concept.

This group made some headway with the project but eventually it stalled due to policies of the day. They were successful, however, in achieving an Expo ’86 grant of $10,000.

In 1992, the Lions took up the project again. This time with the self-imposed mandate to acquire a suitable piece of land that the community would have control over.

In November of 1992, Don Piper, then Lion President, approached Wolfgang Schwegler, lawyer for F. Williams Holdings and enquired as to whether they would consider donating land to the community.

“The Prince” Fuerst Friedrich Wilhelm Von Hohenzollern, responded favourably and the Lions set about locating a suitable piece of F. Williams land that would fit the community needs.

It was felt that the best location they could offer was approximatly 4 acres in Lyall Harbour at the end of Crossingham Road. After much discussion, it was decided that location would be too restricting and would also cause traffic congestion.

In January 1993, the Saturna Recreation Centre Society was incorporated.

Shortly after this, John & Carol Money were approached to see if they would consider trading 4 acres of land near the upper store, for the 4 acres in Lyall Harbour which was adjacent to land the Money’s already owned. They agreed.

In December 1993, subdivision applications for both properties were submitted to the Islands Trust. It should be pointed out that although F. Williams was willing to donate 4 acres, by the time this piece was subdivided, due to restrictions placed on it by several Ministries we ended up with only ½ of the original piece.

The Money’s, however kept to their original commitment and donated the 4 acres we felt was needed for this project and for further community development.

On July 2, 1998 the property was registered to the Saturna Recreation Centre Society. The Saturna Lions had now completed their mandate to acquire the property.

The Saturna Recreation Centre Society began work on the building with the mandate:

  • To identify the recreational needs and interests of the community.
  • To organize, administer, and coordinate appropriate recreation opportunities for all ages in the community on a year round basis.
  • To assist already established recreation groups and programs.
  • To acquire property and to construct thereon a building or buildings for the purpose of providing a recreational facility for the community of Saturna Island.
  • To obtain and manage the necessary finances, personal and equipment to operate community recreation programs and facilities.

In April 1999 several Architects with Saturna connections were approached to submit “expressions of interest” to the Society. John Keay was engaged and the first of many building plans were presented to the Society and then to the Community for input on a multipurpose facility.

In August 2001 the Society first made application to the Canada/BC Infrastructure Program for funds to construct a multipurpose facility. Over the next two and a half years many public meetings were held within the Community to discuss the project and the configuration of the new facility.

In June 2002 the first major fund raising event was kicked off at Tom & Dian Johnstone’s home. Over the next two years $575,000 was raised mostly from the Saturna Community.

On May 28, 2003 the Society was approved for matching funding in the amount of $1,108,878.00 from the Canada/BC Infrastructure Program. The “Program” covers the cost of the Recreation & Cultural Centre but the Medical Clinic was not an eligible expense. The Community raised all the funds for the Clinic.

November 1, 2003 saw the signing of a construction management contract between the Society, Don Piper and John Gaines. The building plans were finalized February 23, 2004, and the framing contract to Traditional Projects Ltd. was approved on May 1, 2004. May 7, 2004 saw the first concrete pour.

On January 15, 2005 the building reached “lock-up” roof on, windows & doors in, and building paper on. A major event!

On August 20, 2005 the Saturna Recreation and Cultural Centre was officially opened with a gala celebration with invited dignitaries, a bagpipe band and procession along with 250 well-wishers in attendance.

The building is completely paid for and carries no debt. Fund raising continues for operating expenses.

by Laura Coombs & Harvey Janszen