Horsefly’s 66-year-old community hall is getting an improved water system and a commercial kitchen.
Paul Hearsey, president of the Horsefly Community Club and Owen Knox have been working on the upgrades for about a year.
“This hall was built in 1955 so it’s getting up there but it was built like a fortress,” Hearsey said, noting the community hired a single contractor and all the rest was done by volunteers, even the concrete foundation.
“They went over to a sand bank near the river, got a couple of mixers going and did it all by hand,” Hearsey said.
He said lots of time and money has gone into maintaining the building over the years, which in the beginning only had wood heat and no running water or power.
In 2020, the club received $10,000 from the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) toward digging a new well and obtain a better water supply.
With additional funding in 2021 of up to $5,545, which the CRD board approved at its regular meeting Jan. 15, through its community works fund, the hall will have new insulated water lines to the kitchen and bathrooms.
CRD Area F director Maureen LeBourdais told the Tribune she was pleased the CRD was supporting upgrades and the club.
“Horsefly is a community with an amazing, committed volunteer base and the hall kitchen upgrade project – of which this is part – is no exception.”
Hearsey said previously the hall did not have a good water supply.
“The building had cold water only and it wasn’t safe or potable water at all, it was just a shallow hole in the ground that supplied the water — it was terrible.”
He said they dug everything up to start over from scratch and were putting the finishing touches on the pump room the third week of January.
“It will be all new from one end of the building to the other with brand new insulated lines, a re-circulation pump, it has pretty well all the bells and whistles and I’m just putting the finishing touches on the water treatment now.”
The total cost for the water project will be about $15,500 which includes the cost of drilling for the new well.
Akin to the water system the club decided it was ‘all or nothing’ for the kitchen as well.
“With food safe regulations you either have a full compliant kitchen or not, there’s no in between,” Hearsey said. “We decided to jump in with both feet and build a proper licensed kitchen and went and talked with the health inspector about what was involved.”
It may have been foolish to take on the two big projects in one year, but because the funding was available it seemed like the right thing to do, he added.
Hearsey and his wife Sandy McNie moved to the area 13 years ago from Salt Spring Island to be closer to her brother Bob McNie who lives in Williams Lake.
Prior to retiring the couple worked in a long-term care hospital — she as a cook and he looking after all the building systems.
Upon their arrival in Horsefly, they decided to design and build their ‘second’ dream home on a 40-acre piece of property.
About six years ago, she became the Horsefly Fall Fair president and Hearsey said the only reason he became involved with the community club was because the president called him up ‘out of the blue’ and invited them both to a meeting.
“The next thing you know I was the new president of the Horsefly Community Club. It was just one of those accidental things,” Hearsey said.
“Of course Sandi and I look at each other and think, ‘how come we didn’t get involved sooner?’”