Fundraising for Forbes Hall on Thetis Island is on target for the start of an extensive renovation/expansion next spring. (Photo submitted)

Thetis project receives a big boost from $250,000 grant

Work on Forbes Hall expansion and upgrade likely to start next spring

The Thetis Island Community Association has received an extensive boost to its Forbes Hall upgrade and expansion project with the awarding of a $250,000 grant from the Community Gaming Grants Branch.

“We’re not worried now,” said Ann Dickie, co-chair of the building expansion committee. “We’re at the point we can go forward.”

A goal of $930,000 was set for the 2018 fundraising campaign that’s been going very well. While the grant catapults the coffers well beyond the goal, fundraising will continue to meet the amount required to complete the existing project.

Thetis residents are obviously pleased about the news of the grant because it not only validates the project, but also the incredible efforts made by members of the community who undertook the massive job of preparing the application.

Many facets of the Thetis community were woven together to tell a compelling story to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development that felt it was worthy of the investment.

As of Oct. 19, the campaign to raise the $930,000 stood at $806,592 so there’s still a bit of work to reach that, but not much. There was $530,000 raised as of the end of 2017 plus $138,296 from donations, events and grants. The $138,296 was matched by a private donor to bring the project close to the goal.

“It’s going well, people are very positive,” said Dickie.

“Most of our big fundraising has been done. December has historically been a gifting month. We want everyone to know we have this money, but we are continuing to fundraise.”

She expects it’ll be sometime in the spring, perhaps May of 2019, when the project clearly gets off the ground with the physical work. It will still need to go out to tender for a definite timeline and cost.

Forbes Hall has served Thetis residents for many years, but it’s definitely time to bring it up to current standards for kitchen facilities, a gathering place for more events and as a community emergency centre.

“It’s kind of a dowdy little building,” conceded Dickie. “If we’re going forward we’re looking at more versatility, more sustainability.”

A celebration is planned at Forbes Hall Saturday, Nov. 17 from 2-4 p.m. to bring the public up to speed on the project.

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