Residents held what they called a funeral for the Parksville Community Centre — a small group of people, mainly in parked cars, listened to a brief eulogy and honked their horns as a sendoff.
The event was held outside the centre and marked the final day of an agreement between the City of Parksville and the Parksville Community Centre Society (PCCS) to use the building as a rental facility.
“We may seem like a few people here, but there’s hundreds of people behind us. But as a crowd, we cannot gather,” said Holly Heppner, PCCS president.
Duane Round, a former president of the society, said the building was mostly empty and the PCCS had removed its property, such as tables, chairs and dishes.
“If we don’t continue as a society, we’re obligated to turn those assets over to a similar non-profit facility, not hand them over to the city as they’ve requested,” he said.
Round recalled memories of weddings, breakfast with Santa events, awards nights, plays and dances held at the community centre.
“The society had a great year of events planned before COVID shut it down. All the memories will live on through us and the hall will not be forgotten,” he said. “The reason for it’s demise will be remembered next election.”
The city said it will work with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island (BGCVI) to lease the building in 2021.
Mayor Ed Mayne said residents will not lose out on programs because the community centre is a rental facility and the organizations that rent its space provide the programming. He added there were enough rental spaces in Parksville to allow those activities to continue.
Round said the PCCS is considering ideas such as holding events in other locations and renting tables, chairs and dishes to groups.
“We’re actually looking into a recall of the mayor’s election,” said Heppner. “Mayor Trump will be recalled.”