Walhachin hall gets makeover

The Walhachin Soldiers Memorial Hall receives about $100,000 worth of renovations and landscaping.

The end of a two-year renovation project on the Walhachin Soldiers Memorial Hall is just about complete.

The project used about $100,000 of TNRD and NDIT funds to replace windows and kitchen appliances, make the hall wheelchair-accessible and put in some new features such as a deck and arbour with an enclosed pizza oven for outdoor events.

The new sign on the highway two years ago was the beginning of it, says TNRD Director Steve Rice. “It’s going to give Walhachin a whole new lease on life.”

Rice says the Friends of Walhachin have given their ideas on how to improve the hall and the local people have helped with the landscaping. “It’s as close to zero-landscaping as we ca get.”

“I think it’s a really good example of local, provincial and federal groups working together,” he said.

The idea for a cenotaph came up a few months ago, he said. “We told [the cenotaph committee] that it was a great idea and a good addition to the project,” but nothing further seemed to come of it.

Colleen Bick of the Friends of Walhachin, said the cenotaph committee missed the deadline to apply for funding and said they’d withdrawn their application.

However, she says, the “Friends” are planning to put a memorial outside behind the Hall where the arbour and other outside improvements are going. She says they plan to place concrete benches around a feature rock with flagpole and plaque, and all will overlook the river.

The new sign for the all also incorporates poppies and a military insignia.

Broda Construction, says Bick, has been really helpful, picking out feature rocks for them to use in the landscaping.

She says the “Friends” are hoping the hall’s improvements will lead to more use. They’ve made the outside of the hall just as useable as the inside, and the wheelchair accessibility has been long overdue.

One thing she would like to see is an outdoor live music series like Ashcroft enjoys.

And she’s looking forward to getting the shade trees planted for the arbour by the end of the month. “It’ll be really nice,” she says.