Westbank Lions Community Centre salvageable

One of Westbank Centre's most historic buildings does not need to be rebuilt from scratch, the Westbank Lions Club learned last week.

Westbank Lions Community Centre, which was damaged by flames Sept. 1, suffered about 40 per cent damage, according to Westbank Lions Club president Wayne Atkinson.

He said when he initially saw the exterior damage, he assumed the building would be a write-off.

"From the outside it looked terrible," said Atkinson.

"But when I had a tour, I (saw) the biggest portion of the building was not touched.

"They said it was 35 (to) 45 per cent burned, which is far below what they would rebuild."

He said there were mixed preferences regarding whether or not it would be better to rebuild the building from scratch amongst club members and the general public.

"Many thought it could've been replaced with a brand new, modern building.

"But sometimes modernity leaves behind history."

Atkinson said repairs could get underway either at the end of this month, or in early December.

The original building was opened in April 1930. According to Atkinson, at the time, sawdust met building code requirements for insulation.

"There are some good things that will come out of this…(the building) will be replaced with more modern insulation."

He said the club is still unsure how much of the cost will be covered by insurance.

"We expect to have to do some fundraising, but I've said to the club, 'We're not fundraising until we know how much and what for.' We need to be open to the community and accountable to the community for how we look after that building."

Westbank Lions Community Centre will likely re-open in September or October 2014.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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