Little Qualicum Hall has a new lease on life now that renovations and improvements have been completed on the heritage building.
The 1,350-square foot hall, which has been in the Dashwood community for more than 70 years, was saved from demolition in 2017 by residents, who rallied against a Regional District of Nanaimo plan. At the time, the RDN opted to tear it down as the cost would be prohibitive to upgrade and renovate.
The building, constructed some time in the early 1930s to the mid-1940s, is located on Centre Road in Dashwood Community Park in Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River). It was sold to the RDN for $1 in 1994.
Substantial repairs and improvements were made to hall, which is now available for activities and rentals. To pay for the project, $170,000 was taken from Electoral Area G Community Works Funds and $50,000 was budgeted over two years to complete the work.
Duane Round, a former member of the Electoral Area G Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee, who was also one of the driving forces behind getting the Little Qualicum Hall repaired, said he visited the hall recently and he liked what he saw.
“They have done a lot of work and it really looks nice outside now,” said Round. “It’s a very nice community hall.”
Round said upgrades were also done around the building including installation of additional fencing to separate play areas from vehicles and parking areas, and playground equipment.
“It’s looking really good,” said Round. “I am glad to see that it’s still there.”
Resident Shirley Culpin said the community is happy to see Little Qualicum Hall back in operation.
“With the upgraded facilities, new kitchen, more washrooms, wheelchair access, it will allow our neighbourhood to do a lot more in the way of community events,” said Culpin.
Some minor work is still being completed, such as landscaping improvements with grass seeding awaiting early fall rains for establishment.
A mechanical consultant has completed the design for an HRV system to be installed this winter.