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Lions Club calls on Chamber of Commerce to explain eviction

Letter to the Editor:

Last Thursday, four of the Lions executive waited for our turn to visit the Chamber of Commerce board meeting. In the closed meeting of the chamber board, a discussion of how to proceed with the eviction of the Lions Club.

For 41 years, the Castlegar-Selkirk Lions have been involved in Castlegar. Shopping locally, giving funds back to the community. Everyone living here has probably been touched in some way by Lions – maybe just buying at our concession, visiting Pass Creek Park, playing Bingo, accessing the Food Bank, staying at Easter Seal House and yes – visiting the Chamber office.

In 1986, Lions donated funds and labor to help build the Chamber building. An agreement was signed allowing lifetime use by the existing Lions Club a portion of the basement for storage of equipment.

In October, we were issued an eviction notice for Dec. 14. We responded immediately requesting a meeting between the two boards to resolve the issue. No response. I called several times and was told they were busy with election, so we could have a 30-day extension, still no response to a meeting. On Dec. 23, a letter arrived issuing the final decision of, “Out by Feb. 15”.  On Jan. 3, five of our executive met with (chamber director) Pam MacLeod and Kerry Hobbs, President.

We were told they had been instructed to “not discuss” the reason and we were not to contact individual directors as they had also agreed not to discuss it. It was “nothing personal” as the Shriners and United Way were also evicted.

They grudgingly granted our request to meet their board and on Jan. 19 we attended.  Upon arrival, we were told to present our case, there would be no discussion. Strange ? Begs the question, why?

Why can’t they say they   need the space, or they want a new building or something?

Without storage space for our equipment we have lost our ability to fundraise. Without fundraising we have lost our ability to help Castlegar’s needy. 

The way things stand right now on Feb. 15, Flag Day, a day to celebrate and honor Canada’s symbol of democracy, free speech and caring for each other, the Lions Club will be evicted.

Chamber of Commerce members, we have supported your businesses, is this the mandate you have given your elected Board? Please voice your opinions because your Board has chosen not to speak. Community, please support us, a small group of dedicated volunteers who would like to continue to serve in this community. If you know of a suitable storage area, please contact us. I can be contacted at 365-3884 or president Luc at 365-6861.

Thank you

Joanne Baker – Secretary

542 Lakeview St., Castlegar   365-3884