REPORTING · 8th February 2011
In a gift by John Evans of Remax Coast Mountains (formerly Remax Terrace) the Happy Gang Centre has moved another step closer to raising the funds necessary to complete their planned renovations. Susan Broughton and Bill McRae have teamed up to complete this fund raising and renovation project.
The core of the renovations is to provide an elevator to the downstairs recreation area of the centre. Currently there is a long flight of steep stairs and for some elderly retired folks it can be intimidating and for others simply impossible. The second aspect is to level the floor. For reasons unknown a large area in the middle of the downstairs was raised by three to four inches after the original floor was poured. This presented as a hazard. If one were standing on the raised area and absent mindedly stepped backwards off of the raised portion the injuries could be serious. Some have fallen according to Broughton and this hazard needed to be removed.
Today the floor is relatively level again as crews have recently come in and ‘jack hammered’ out the raised portion. Next will be the re-flooring of this surface with special thin tiles. The area will be used for various floor games such as carpet bowling.
The elevator contract is being selected this week and the plan is to install it in the area where the first closet is to the right of where one enters the seating area in the main upstairs dining room. This new elevator will make the entire building accessible to all people regardless of their mobility issues. Another benefit is the movement of the furniture. Presently, when tables and chairs are needed, either up or down, patrons and volunteers lug them up or down the stairs by hand.
Bill McRae has been a constant feature of this volunteer run centre and even donated the lumber for the initial construction when he was operating the Skeena Sawmills, now West Fraser. And this Thursday at (Note Correction) 1:30 pm McRae, a life and founding member of the Terrace Royal Canadian Legion will be presenting a $10,000 cheque on behalf of the Legion to the Happy Gang Centre.
This will be a significant ceremonial event and all Terrace residents are invited to attend, though it might get crowded.
The Happy Gang Centre provides a venue for seniors to get together rather than being generally alone and house bound. All of the services are provided by volunteer efforts and this is part of what John Evans expressed when we met to document his donation on behalf of the Remax Coast Mountains Realty Office. He described the historical significance of the seniors and their long term volunteer efforts to build the community of Terrace. Today when volunteers are needed it can be a difficult task. Most people are too busy or for other reasons cannot volunteer. The legalities in some situations today also restrict volunteers. Evans described how the arenas in Terrace, curling and hockey, were both built and managed by volunteers in the past. In this regard he wanted to acknowledge and show a sign of respect for those retired seniors, for thier untiring volunteer efforts, during the short history in the life of Terrace, by contributing to their better lifestyle and comfort.
After the celebration on Thursday afternoon the BC Winter Games Legacy fund will be holding an official ceremony in the evening at the Terrace Arena to present even more funds to this worthy project. The Happy Gang Centre themselves committed $45,000 from their own bank account to kick off the fund raiser and many Terrace and Regional entities have contributed including the Foresters and Northern Savings Credit Union.
As of last week the total raised was $72,000. With the new monies arriving this week the Happy Gang Centre is well on their way to meeting and even exceeding their objectives.
The stairs leading to the downstairs recreation area
In the center of this picture is a closet which is the spot designated for the soon to be installed elevator
This picture shows the large area which was raised. The mark on the far wall shows the hieght of the raised area.
There are plenty of activities including this snooker table which will soon be available to all the seniors of Terrace regardless of their mobility issues