Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors agreed last week to sign a memorandum of understanding with a group of Halfmoon Bay volunteers to work jointly towards building a new community hall at Coopers Green.
“The memorandum of understanding (MOU) allows us to understand what the group in Halfmoon Bay is doing and, at the same time, they have confidence that it’s being supported by staff and directors of the regional district,” board chair Garry Nohr said at the May 8 community services committee meeting.
Appearing before the committee, Don Cunliffe, a member of the Welcome Beach Community Association (WBCA), said the group was prepared to contribute an initial $140,000 towards the project from the proceeds of its Welcome Beach Community Hall property on Redrooffs Road, sold in late 2011 to a local resident.
“The objective for additional funding — which, of course, would be fairly significant — is that it would largely come from the community,” Cunliffe told the committee.
On the issue of funding, Nohr said he had made the SCRD board’s position clear to the volunteers.
“In discussions with the association, I said they can’t expect any money coming from the taxpayers. Anything that comes from the RD would have to be from community commitments from developers or from IPPs [independent power projects],” he said.
The committee passed the staff recommendation to enter into an MOU with the group, detailing the responsibilities of each party in planning a new hall, but deleted a reference to SCRD funding and replaced it with “staff participation” in the project.
During his presentation, Cunliffe noted that Halfmoon Bay had three halls at one time, but the SCRD-owned hall at Coopers Green is now the only one remaining and “falls far short in meeting the continued needs of the community.”
Deficiencies in the hall include the lack of a food-safe kitchen, poor acoustics, lighting and heating and its small size.
“Our vision is that Coopers Green, including the hall, increasingly becomes the focal point for the community that everyone can use and be proud of,” Cunliffe said. “It will provide a venue for dances, dining, entertainment, meetings, sports, weddings and the like.”
Nohr said he’s been impressed by how the group, which has grown to 210 members, has worked to put on events that drew sell-out crowds to the hall in recent months.
“So what they’re doing is pretty solid … and they have my full support,” he said.
In his report to the committee, parks planning coordinator Trevor Fawcett said the hall project would be developed in tandem with a park management plan for Coopers Green “that is expected to crystallize in 2015.”
Once the MOU is signed, Cunliffe said, the WBCA will “proceed with the development of requirements, public consultation, fundraising and initial design.”
Last November, the cost of the project was estimated at $650,000 and Nohr said he expected it would take at least two years for the WBCA to raise the total sum.
© Coast Reporter