St Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society provides progress update

Protesters rallied to stop the town from demolishing the former St Andrews Lodge in November. || File photo
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The St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society has provided an update after Qualicum Beach town council defeated a motion to allocate $10,000 for landscaping and parking on the lodge property.

Coun. Scott Harrison said at council’s March 17 meeting he sees more effort from the society being put into social media than fundraising. President of the society, Anne Skipsey, said she was disappointed by his comment.

“These are volunteers, these are people in the community that value our heritage and this site in particular and they are giving up their time to do this work. You know, it takes time when you have a volunteer board to do some of these things,” she said.

The society has been working on getting its 10 person board organized and formalized, registering as a society, opening a bank account and researching potential grant opportunities, according to Skipsey.

She said it is still accepting donations through a GoFundMe it used when originally rallying to save the building.

“We haven’t really launched a major campaign and we haven’t been proactive in doing the outreach to solicit new donations,” Skipsey said. “I have had a number of people tell me that as soon as they are able to get a tax receipt, they would be willing to make a substantial donation.”

Skipsey said the society has been looking into how to become a charitable organization, which will allow it to provide tax receipts to donors. The society still has not signed a formal agreement with the town and does not yet have keys to the lodge building.

It has also been working to get on the town’s community heritage registry, which Skipsey said should help the society to be eligible for various grants. 

Harrison expressed concern over the amount of time the society has been working on its mission statement. “The simple fact is, after four months of being active on this issue and being very passionate about it, they have not come up with a mission statement,” he said.

Skipsey said the statement is important for grant applications. “You have to make sure you have the right wording in order to make you eligible for some grant opportunities, so there is maybe a bit more to it than it would appear on the surface.”

The exact plan for the former lodge is still unclear. Skipsey said the society intends on making it a community gathering place, “but exactly how that plays out we are not sure yet.”

The society is working to set up a meeting with the town to sign a formal lease agreement.

“We had drafted a lease agreement in preparation for that meeting, so that we would be ready to go in and talk about the things that we would like to see on that lease,” Skipsey said.

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