Group in Granum looking to build new hall

By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
A group from Granum would like to explore the idea of building a new community centre in the hamlet.
They appeared as a delegation at the Feb. 9 meeting of the council of the Municipal District of Willow Creek.
Roy Penniket acted as the spokesperson and outlined what has occurred to date.
Essentially they were proposing a Granum community centre.
They toured the Readymade facility east of Coaldale and cited it as an example of a modern, newer facility.
Penniket began by explaining why they were proposing a hall.
Blunden Hall was their community centre for years but was torn down.
Granum still has the Recreation 2000 Centre but it is not big enough, does not meet building codes, is not accessible, and has a limited kitchen.
Groups have been using the Granum School gym but it is unavailable in the daytime. The acoustics are not good either, there is no liquor, and tables, chairs and food have to be transported to the school for every function.
The group was proposing Gopher Flats, which is land owned by the M.D., and located near the golf course and Granview Park.
The advantage, Penniket said, is the community centre could tie in with the golf course and the park; there are services south along Dufferin Street; it is away from residential areas; and there is access from the west and south sides so there is a circular flow of traffic.
He noted Readymade has a well laid out concept to start from.
They track all bookings by computer, on a white board, and have one person doing it all. The cost to operate Readymade is about $1,500 per month, and their income is about $4,500 per month.
They received a $400,000 grant; had $300,000 in in-kind contributions; and raised $300,000 to build the centre.
Penniket estimated a new community centre in Granum would cost about $1.5 million, but cautioned there was not a lot to build that estimate on.
He was proposing to take the idea to the Granum community board.
However, the facility needs land and help with funding.
“We definitely need something in the community better than we have,” he said.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Coun. John Kroetsch, whose division includes Granum.
He added they would be looking for a resolution from council after the idea goes to the community board.
Penniket said a lot of money has been raised over the years through community suppers.
Reeve Maryanne Sandberg asked where do they go from here?
Penniket responded they need the blessing of the M.D. for the land, would like a feasibility study done by the board, and would like help from the M.D. with funding.
“I’m happy to see the sense of community back for Granum,” said Coun. Ian Sundquist, adding he had no problem offering a letter offering the land but moving forward looked for a more formal presentation. “I think it’s a great idea.”
However, he offered a caution.
“It has to be driven by the community,” he said.
Derrick Krizsan, the M.D.’s chief administrative officer, said there were several aspects to the idea.
There has to be community consultation but, fortunately, there is a community board already.
An estimate of cost has to be developed because, without that, the idea will not move forward. Krizsan suggested using funds available from the former Town of Granum that are still left to determine those costs.
He also noted Craig Pittman, the M.D.’s director of infrastructure, used a process with the tri-services building in Granum he can utilize for this project.
Kroetsch emphasized they were not looking to raise taxes to pay for a new hall.
Penniket agreed, noting a tax raise was not going to fly. Instead the hall will be built through existing structures and fundraising.
He also talked to Family and Community Support Services about some seed money to use to tour other community centres in Southern Alberta but has not heard back.
“It’s very admirable,” Sandberg said of the project. “It’s great to see Granum coming together.”
“I applaud you,” said Coun. Glen Alm. “It needs to be community driven.
“We’ll see what we can do from this end.”
Council went into closed session at the end of its meeting.
Upon reverting to open session, council decided to send a letter to the Granum District Community Board inviting them to continue the discussion on the potential for undertaking a community centre project in the Hamlet of Granum and to thank them for their work to date.