Last week, the Rocanville Economic Development Organization (REDO) committed a $10,000 donation to the proposed community hall in Rocanville. Plans for a new community hall have been underway for some time, and earlier this year, PotashCorp Rocanville committed to fund $800,000 or one third of the cost of the new hall. Another $800,000 would be paid by the RM and Town of Rocanville, and the final third of the cost would be fundraised by the hall committee.
The town decided that before they committed their portion of the funds—because they would be responsible for their $400,000 commitment as well as co-signing the $800,000 portion that will be paid back through fundraising—they wanted to hear the opinions of citizens by holding a referendum vote.
There will be an advance poll on Thursday, July 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the town office, and the regular polling day will be August 5, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The referendum will be asking citizens if they are in favor of the town borrowing the $360,000—the town has $40,000 in surplus they have decided to commit to the costs—and co-signing for the fundraising committee’s borrowing of $765,000—if the hall goes ahead, a $35,000 private donation has already been committed.
Now, with the commitment of $10,000 from REDO, the remainder to fundraise would be $755,000. The funds came from an interest collection that the Economic Development Board has from the Small Business Loans Association (SBLA).
“The government has done away with that program now, but any of the loans we have lent out to small businesses that are still coming in, we still get to collect the interest off of that, so the money we are donating is interest we’ve been collecting over the years,” says Stan Langley, who is on the Economic Development Board. “It came up . . . that we should look at donating some of this money we have in the account towards the hall building fund, and everyone on the board thought it was a good idea—the money is sitting there doing nothing, so it may as well be doing something for the community.”
Along with the hall donation, REDO donated $1,000 to the Rocanville Aquatic Centre to help with boiler repairs.
Langley says that donating to the hall made sense to REDO because having a hall would be an economic improvement for the community.
“If you look around, every other town has a hall—we see people going to other towns to use halls for weddings and stuff like that. If we sit back and let our town just stagnate, that is what will happen. People will not want to move here because there’s nothing happening in Rocanville. They will go and browse where there is something happening,” Langley says.
“If we have the new hall and people see there is progress going on—we have a new subdivision that people can build homes in, we have a school that is Kindergarten to Grade 12, we have a pool—we have so many things going for us, so we need to get a hall going, and it will be a gathering spot for people to go.”
Langley says that in speaking to the public about the new hall, he has heard views on either side, but he thinks that the hall is a worthwhile project.
“I think there are a lot of people quite in favor of it. When they are looking at $800,000 that they have to fundraise, and they’ve already got a good chunk of money—they have $35,000 and another $10,000 and they haven’t started taking personal donations as of yet—I don’t think it will be hard to raise that $800,000 once people see a shovel in the ground.”
Langley says the Economic Development Board made the donation because they think the hall is a worthwhile endeavor, and not to gain yes votes. Personally, however, he encourages supporters to make it a priority to vote on August 5.
“I think there’s a lot of people who want the hall who may say they are in favor, but don’t have time to go out and vote. I am hoping people will come out and vote because it’s a guarantee that the people who don’t want the hall are going to vote,” he says.