Tofino’s community hall is getting an addition and that’s not all the district has in store for the top of Arnet Road as a new recreation facility and potential swimming pool are also in the works.
The district received a $175,000 grant from Canada’s federal government to help cover the cost of a $412,000 project that will add a 750-square-foot space as well as a storage room and covered entrance to the district’s current, roughly 4,500 sq. ft., community hall.
“It’s been a really great asset for the community over the years, but it has its challenges, one being that there’s literally no storage so all the tables and chairs you might use for a community dinner or the Oyster Festival are stored on the side of the space and that leads to the space not being used to its fullest extent,” said Tofino’s Community Sustainability Manager Aaron Rodgers. “We have a crying need for smaller space for meetings or smaller activities like yoga or seniors’ tea.”
Construction on the new addition has begun and Rodgers said he’s excited about the recreational opportunities the space will create as the hall is currently full about 90 per cent of the time.
“In the middle of the day on a weekday, there might not be somebody there but, other than that, we have to turn people away,” he said adding the large hall only allows for one activity at a time, regardless of the size of the group using it.
The area at the top of Arnet Road was once slated for Tofino’s future sewage treatment facility as well as a potential new library, but that sewage facility has since been slated for Industrial Way and the library plan has moved to a current parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Third Street outside Tofino’s municipal office.
Rodgers said the Arnet site is now being mapped out to host three buildings, including the hall and its addition, as well as a new recreation facility and a third building that hasn’t been decided yet, though a swimming pool looks to be leading the way.
“In the next few months, we’ll do a site plan to figure out the orientation of a future recreation facility and a third municipal building that may be a small pool in the future, depending on what happens with the [West Coast] Multiplex,” he said. “We want to make sure that, depending on what grants become available, we at least know where the buildings are going so that we’re not scrambling to find space. The site planning will set the table and then, as grants and funding becomes available, we’ll start putting the pieces in place.”
At the time of this writing, a GoFundMe page set up by the Tofino Pool Society had raised $3,030 of its $5,000 goal towards opening an endowment fund with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.