Letter: School use critical to community

Sadly it is becoming more and more difficult to enjoy living in Williams Lake.

Editor:

Sadly it is becoming more and more difficult to enjoy living in Williams Lake.  We all know of the economic and crime difficulties but now we can add the attitude of our School Board to that list.

What makes a town interesting to live in are the extra community events people can enjoy outside of their working hours.  Happily, in Williams Lake, there are many groups that support community events in a big way.  Donations of prizes, labour, and other services are often made available by loggers, truckers, retail outlets, insurance agents and many more.  Our local school board, with their current user fee policy, cannot be described as a valued community supporter, however.

The school board is now enforcing a policy that requires a janitor to be on site for the entire duration of any community event held in the schools. This means that when the events are held outside of normal working hours, the user group pays for the janitor services and of course, a higher rate of pay is applied on weekends or holidays.

With this increase, it has simply become impossible for many smaller community groups to afford to use school facilities any more. I personally know of two examples of local non-profit groups that have had to search for another venue.

Yes, there are several private facilities available for rent in the community, but it is extremely difficult to find one that is affordable to small groups, available for entire weekends and also has the space and/or floor type needed for specific events.

Of course we agree that the school board must take care of school facilities and it would be understandable to refuse to rent to groups that are irresponsible but surely they can adopt a more reasonable policy for groups that have proven themselves reliable.

I don’t know if this situation is totally a school board decision, but it is certainly a disappointing turn of events for our community.

This lack of support from our school board causes me to dream of a day when Williams Lake would have an arts/community centre that remained affordable to small community organizations.

The old Glendale School comes to mind with classrooms for groups/clubs to meet and a gymnasium for special events that require such a space.

Of course for that to happen, we need a Fairy Godmother or maybe a Timber King.  How does a log community centre sound?  An affordable one, of course!

Mary Anne Turner

Williams Lake