Community Hall Association fundraising to install accessible washroom upstairs

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, January 24 2017

The Gabriola Community Hall Association has started a new fundraising initiative for a new accessible washroom to be built on the main floor of the hall.

Joyce Babula, President of the Community Hall Association, has been President for approximately 10 years and has been with the board for 30 years. She was involved in rebuilding the hall when the old hall burned down in 1981. 

“When we [re]built the hall I was in my late thirties, and I don’t think anyone thought of aging. Now most of our population has aged and we have a ramp they can go down but the main reason [to make the upstairs accessible] is because people have to take the long way round.”

The main washrooms are accessed the hall by the going down the inside stairwell or by going down the ramp outside.

Babula expects the final figure for the cost of the accessible washroom to be around $10,000. 

“It will extend the washroom that’s there now that’s used by people working in the kitchen but you couldn’t get a wheelchair in there. The placement will be between the kitchen and the storage area to the right of the kitchen.”

Babula is asking residents to help the community hall because it belongs to everyone. “I think there are many other venues but we are the largest for any large dances, we have the election there, and for 250 people we have large meetings, badminton, pickle ball, the preschool, tai chi and karate. We have a full roster and we’re breaking even with that. 

“It’s all user-pay and any upgrade requires fundraising. It’s a community project and we’re hoping everyone will get on board.” 

“I guess I’m committed to it because I was part of building it. Both Graham, my husband, and I were hippies, when we joined the board in the 1970s and we were the same group who rebuilt it. I guess I just have a sense of community.”

The Community Hall Association is one of the organizations receiving funds this year through the Village Food Market’s Community Card program and is looking to raise $5,000

Babula says being accepted by the Village Food Market is an important first step in the fundraising process. The Association is also applying to other agencies and user groups, and they will need volunteer help as well with the building process.

Details on how to use the Community Cards are available at the Village Food Market.