Protection Island hall to receive facelift

NANAIMO – Repairs, expansion on the way for Protection Island's Beacon House, residents' community gathering place.

Protection Island’s community hall is about to get a facelift.

Beacon House, the island’s library and community hall, is about to be expanded and upgraded in a joint initiative by the Protection Island Lions Club and City of Nanaimo after politicians agreed to bump up the budget.

The project at Gallows Point Light Park is expected to start next week with site preparation work.

Lin Neufeld, president of the Protection Island Lions Club, says the renovations have been three years in the works.

The population of the island has increased over the years and its only community meeting place is old, not energy efficient, and the square footage can only accommodate 65 people, according to Neufeld, who says it’s used for games nights, weddings and meetings.

Among the changes is a foundation that will see the building expanded to accommodate 100 people, a new roof and energy-efficiency improvements. The Lions Club will contribute $40,000 it’s fundraised toward the work, as well as in-kind services, while the City of Nanaimo will pay $138,396.

Council voted unanimously on Monday to increase the budget by more than $40,000, with a staff report showing the discovery of two steel beams in the building’s attic increased the complexity and cost of the project.

“We went out and found a little bit more money and they [city staff] had gone to council and asked for additional funding so now we can go ahead and hire the contractors that bid and get started,” said Neufeld, who calls it exciting.

The additional city dollars for Beacon House will come from the Partners in Parks project and money slated for Harewood Activity Centre boiler replacement, on hold pending follow-up on a core services review recommendation.