The group that will take over the maintenance and operation of the historical St. Andrews Lodge has paid the hydro bill it owes the Town of Qualicum Beach for keeping the building heated.
The St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society delivered the cheque to the town on April 28, covering $117.70 for the heaters and $283.10 for electricity for a total of $400.80.
Deputy CAO Heather Svensen confirmed that the bill has been settled.
Michael Goldman of the society said they wanted to set the record straight after Coun. Scott Harrison’s letter in the PQB News on May 5, indicating the group was four months in arrears with their hydro bill.
Goldman said they paid the hydro bill despite not that having a lease nor access to the lodge.
The society, Goldman indicated, has been doing its best to raise funds. It currently has gofundme page that so far has just raised close to $3,500. He added there has also been donations.
“Until it is afforded heritage status and a lease, major fundraising objectives are hindered,” said Goldman. “Both items are stalled by tied votes at town council.”
The society has communicated with two senior town staff once to set up a meeting to discuss a lease proposal that Goldman said he had drafted based on other town leases.
Town council at its April 9 in camera meeting was not able to reach a consensus on the next steps for the lease negotiations.
They decided to wait until council has its fifth member (Anne Skipsey topped a byelection ballot on May 15 and will be sworn in on May 27).
Goldman said there is a strong support from the community to preserve the lodge.
”Initial community consultations in June 2019 showed that preservation of the lodge was supported or strongly supported by over 70 per cent of survey respondents,” said Goldman.
“This support percentage only dropped if preserving the lodge would involve significant expense to taxpayers. When the society agreed to pay all lodge preservation costs, logically the support returned to its original 70 per cent-plus.”