History of the Community Hall

History of the Egmont Community Hall

Do you know parts of the history of the hall such as renovations, roof repairs, work crews, projects? We’d love to be able to add the history here. I understand Kelly painted the fabulous eagle mural in the hallway of the hall. What year, what prompted him. I’d love to see it signed and dated as it’s a lovely piece of artwork!

May 2010
My small community of Egmont has been fundraising for 8 years to fund a new cement foundation for our Community Hall. We reached our huge goal of over $100,000.00 and the project is underway. Much volunteer work was required to prepare for this undertaking. The outbuildings and had to be removed, power and water shut off and the brick chimney had to be taken down.

May 2010

Originally uploaded by Heather in BC

One of our local contractors, Dean Bosch came in with his excavator to remove brush, trees, rocks and debris from around the hall and he dug a trench around the perimeter.

I took pictures while Dean was working but then I headed to Vancouver and totally missed the actual raising of the hall by
Nickel Bros. on the weekend of April 17/18. They were kind enough to donate $5500.00 of work toward our project and we have a local business who offered to match their contribution.

The hall is raised, sitting on 6 huge steel beams, awaiting the contractor who has the job of building the forms and having the concrete poured. He is apparently starting work very soon. With all the brush removed it shows the fabulous waterfront property the hall sits on. I can imagine a deck with umbrellas, a waterfront walkway and tourists meandering through and enjoying the serenity of Secret Bay.

Our Egmont Community Hall has been the central meeting place for the community for nearly 50 years and with the new foundation will hopefully last another 50 years. It definitely needs some TLC as you can see from the pictures, but that will be part of our next fundraising efforts!

In the mid 1950’s, Egmont was a growing town and needed a central Community Hall.

Written in October 2009 by Heather (West) Smith from John West’s memories.

When property for the new school was negotiated with the Consumers Co-op in Secret Bay, a portion was set aside for a hall and road allowance.
The Egmont Community Club (ECC) members heard of a “quonset type” building (similar to the school building) for sale in Vancouver for $200.00. They were making plans to take a trip to Vancouver to check it out. My ‘Pop’, John West, heard of the plan in the Fall when he returned home from his fishing season and asked them to put off their trip until he could check out a lead he knew of.

He and another resident, Jim Leighton, went on a fishing trip up Jervis Inlet and on the way back stopped off at Brittain River, a B.C.F.P. Logging Camp which had recently closed. Vic Ramsey, the caretaker was overseeing the removal and sale of all the equipment and buildings. Pop explained the need for a hall in Egmont and the caretaker said, “We have the perfect building”.

He showed the men the large recreation hall which had been built on their property by the loggers for their families. (According to John Seabrook who was involved in removing the shake roof in the 1970’s in order to install a new metal roof, the cedar shake roof was number 1 grade cedar from the first growth forest of Brittain River.) The men agreed it would be perfect for the Egmont Community. So, then my Dad had to negotiate a price……when asked how much, Vic Ramsey, the caretaker said, “well, since it’s for the Community of Egmont, it’ll be $1.00 – just to legalize the transaction!” He asked Pop to come back in a month or so, with 2 boats and 2 “wrapped floats” in tow.

Pop took this information back to the Egmont Community Club executive and they all agreed to proceed. They issued him a $1.00 bill for the transaction. The whole community took part in preparing. The site was cleared and levelled. An area was chosen to pull skids up the side of the bank near the head of Secret Bay.

Once the prep work was completed and a work crew was organized for the big day, Pop and Jack Clark borrowed 2 wrapped floats – one from Dave McNutt and the other from Olli Sladey. He towed one with the Maryann W and the other was towed by Jack Clark. It was a slow trip up Jervis Inlet as the wrapped floats were exactly as they sounded – logs, wrapped together with cables spiked into place to hold them…

They arrived at Brittain River to find the caretaker and his crew had already sawed the hall completely in half, (you can see the join inside the community club) shored it up with cross braced two by fours and loaded the two halves onto large skids of logs. They used a machine to push both sections near the waters edge. At high tide the sections were then loaded onto the beached floats. Pop paid the caretaker.

Pop and Jack then took the floats under tow for a long slow trip to Secret Bay in Egmont. The Disney brothers, Frank and Cyril were waiting with their D7 Caterpillar and a crew of local men. At high tide, the two sections of the hall were beached and towed up the hill on the skids. Once the two halves were positioned and re-attached, and the supports and cross-bracing removed, the hall was jacked up and log posts were set under it for a foundation. I’m sure I’ve simplified the whole process, making it sound a quick, fairly simple job, but I believe it took a major commitment, donation of many man and machine hours and the know-how of the men, supported by the women and children of the community.

The children were not allowed to get too near the work site, but the older boys helped. The women of the community organized a picnic lunch. I can still remember seeing the hall sitting on the freshly cleared land and all the workers admiring it! It had a huge impact on the whole community and was truly an exciting addition of which we were all proud.

The choice of location of the Egmont Community Hall was perfect and the hall was the central core of Egmont. We had community dances which entire families attended. I remember my cousins and I, all dressed up in our party dresses, sitting on the sidelines, giggling, watching our parents and the older kids dancing. The younger children and babies fell asleep in nests of coats or blankets in a corner.

There was always a late night snack of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, coffee and tea. When the last dance ended with ‘Goodnight Irene’ we walked down to the dock, got into our boats and headed home with the moon and stars guiding us to safety. What a romantic picture – but, brrrrrr….it was chilly in an open boat!

The hall has served the community well over the years. It is the main gathering place for public meetings, holiday parties, Easter Egg hunts, Egmont Day, Church services, socials, movies, weddings, memorials, educational courses, children’s programs, concerts, coffee get-togethers and sports activities, such as badminton. It is home to the Thrift Store and has been updated occasionally over the years, thanks to thousands of volunteer hours.

The old log foundation has gradually rotted away and a new concrete foundation is required, the porch needs to be re-shingled and the windows will be replaced with wooden frames. The Egmont Community Club has raised over $26,000.00 $75,000.00 in the 7 years of fundraising, plus an anticipated $25,000.00 which should be forthcoming very soon, to re-build the foundation and is currently soliciting quotations has voted to proceed with the job in the January 2010 with a local contractor.

The ‘Egmont Saloon’ Casino Night will be our last major fundraiser toward this project, and with the most generous offer from Rick & Karen King of Madeira Marine to match our proceeds (up to $10,000.00, this goal is within reach, with your support. Please consider sponsoring a table, donating a silent auction item/door prize and buying tickets to attend this important evening!

Hopefully, the Egmont Community Hall will serve another 50 years or more in Egmont.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge