Photo and story by Helge Nome
The Clearwater County Council sees itself as a funder of last resort for maintenance and upgrades of the 22 odd community halls in the county. That was made plain at the regular council meeting on June 26 when county staff asked for an update of the county's current policy on funding requests from community groups.
A request from a group needing funds to carry out repairs resulting from water damage underneath the Arbutus Hall is currently on hold, pending the receipt of a longer term plan for the facility. Other hall groups have seen their requests for funds be only partially met by the county council.
The challenge of maintaining community halls stem from the shifting demographics and nature of contemporary society, in comparison to the situation when most of the halls were built, around closely knit community groups with limited means of travel to other areas for recreation. Some time ago the community hall at Stauffer in the county was burnt to the ground by the Caroline Fire Department, as it was falling into disuse and disrepair. That may be the future of other halls, also.
On the other hand, a new Crammond Community Hall was built a few years ago by members of a local community group, many of whom are retirees from the Calgary area with spare time on their hands.
In addition to hosting community events, these halls are rented out to companies and individuals for meetings, weddings, funerals and family reunions.
For more photos of the Arbutus Hall, go to Alberta West Photos here
This is what happened in November, 2006 when the Stauffer Community Hall was torched by local fire departments because of a lack of maintenance and use:
July 2012, where Stauffer Hall once stood: