Town hall beginning to form in downtown core

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - Town hall

This is a busy time of the year for everyone. There are yards to put to bed for the winter, craft sales to prepare for or attend, and the multitude of other seasonal events that we all hold dear.

The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce along with local businesses are once again sponsoring the Shop Local program. The details can be found in our local paper and at the various merchants as the time draws near.

I mention this because supporting local business is an important part of keeping our town vibrant and growing. Without our support, local merchants could be forced to shut their doors and we all lose their services.  Empty store fronts tend to multiply and that is never a good thing.

Speaking of empty store fronts, recently the district purchased the old HY Louie building as part of the long standing and ongoing downtown revitalization plan. In years past, the attempts to purchase the building were unsuccessful for a number of reasons. It was through hard work and negotiations that district staff and local realtors Karina Scott and Derbra Fennell put together an agreement with the building owners.

Ms. Scott and Ms. Fennell, working on behalf of the district drafted an innovative package that involved a combination of funds and tax receipts back to the HY Louie Company.

The HY Louie Company has a long standing tradition of being innovative and community minded, and in this case they came through for us.

Karina and Debra were able to work with Ms. Wong at HY Louie to broker a deal the district could afford.

Innovation, community spirit and hard work bring great results. When well versed professionals like Ms. Scott, Ms. Fennell, and HY Louie’s Ms. Wong work together with our district staff great things can and do happen in our community.

What this purchase does, is that not only will a long standing empty building be put to good use, but the surrounding acreage in the downtown core will be developed by the district for everyone’s ongoing benefit.

Large, fully usable parcels are hard to find anywhere. To find one in the core of a town would be a developers dream. To have the town benefit from the ability to develop the land and building for municipal use is better yet.

Over the next few months the building will undergo a complete review and assessment. Any materials that need to be removed or repaired will be dealt with. At this point it would seem that the best plan will be to split the building into two parts. The front part is over 7,000 sq. ft. and ideally suited to office space.

The building was purchased with the reserves set aside for a municipal hall so at this point plans will include district offices. Having our town hall in the downtown core was part of the original community plan, and not having to build a brand new building will save a considerable amount of money.

Speaking of plans, the sewer pipe has arrived and the plan is to work through the winter as much as possible. With Barriere’s almost tropical climate this should not be a problem.

District staff has been charged with the task of keeping everyone informed of which roads will be dug up as we go along. Each resident will have some input into where their connection will be. Note here I said some input, since in some cases there may only be one option.

Staff will do their best to make everyone at least comfortable with the process. Any questions can be directed to Ms. Hannigan at the district office; phone 250-672-9751, or email: channigan@barriere.ca.

Please contact the district with your concerns or questions. What some residents are being told about the project by people not employed by the district is probably wrong.

Each year the Barriere Legion Remembrance Day ceremonies allow us all an opportunity to pay tribute to those that have served. We should never forget our history nor should we turn our backs on those that gave of themselves so much then and now. Please support the Legion and help them to carry out their mission of service to our veterans.