A brief history of the Lund Community Society
We began as the Lund Community Club in 1929, a group of hardworking volunteers from the community who provided a framework and the people-power to create community-building events and a building in which to enjoy them.
The Club built the original Community Hall, located uphill from the Lund Hotel, with totally volunteer labour and materials. The official opening was in May of 1932. Town founder Fred Thulin was very community-minded and insisted that the property the Hall sat on be dedicated to the community, and to that end, had that lot legally surveyed, and from then on, tax notices were sent directly to the Lund Community Club.
For reasons no longer known, however, there was a problem registering the property, so a clear deed was never issued. At the time, this seemed like a minor issue and did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the community, and for the next sixty years, the Club was responsible for the Hall’s maintenance and upkeep, and they organized countless memorable events and some of the best social functions imaginable in the Hall and in Lund over the years. Problems began when the Lund Hotel declared bankruptcy, with a number of properties in the process of being sold, even though unsubdivided, including the land surrounding the Lund lakes.
"The Sixties are over,
but they're not as over here as they are in some places..."
Paul Keays from the documentary
The Lund Waterworks District was negotiating to purchase that land from the Receivers in order to protect the water supply. Community members agreed that the Water Board should own the lakes property but incur no debt from the purchase.
The Receivers also knew there was an obligation to cede the Hall property according to the wishes of Fred Thulin, and so the Lund Waterworks District accepted ownership of the Community Hall for $1.00, and purchased the area around the lakes for $60,000.00. After numerous meetings, it was decided by the Water Board to sell the Hall property to the Hotel. The purchase was finalized in 1989, with the community being allowed to continue using the Hall.
By 1989, the Hall had deteriorated structurally and was in dire need of money and labour to bring it back to an acceptable level, with fire protection and a non-leaky roof, for example. Even then, it had problems with access, parking, and septic, and community usage was increasing.
The hall was used for meetings, recreation, dances, weddings and parties, cultural events, concerts, church, preschool, etc., and the Club didn’t have title to the land it sat on. They began to consider options.
In 1990, the Water Board offered the Community Club use of and, after future subdivision, title to a three-acre section of land at the corner of Finn Bay and Baggi Roads, part of the lakes property.
Community Club volunteers began making plans, raising money, and clearing land on the Finn Bay Road site for a community hall. Much work was done, but eventually volunteer burnout grew and energy waned. Even the Community Club struggled for a few years to put on events with a shrinking volunteer base. The realization that the dream of a hall and a unifying structure in the form of the Community Club was going to evaporate brought a resurgence of energy and enthusiasm, due to the hard work of a few volunteers who went door to door soliciting help. The Lund Community Club incorporated as a non-profit Society in 1997, operating under the British Columbia Societies Act, which allowed it to apply for grants and charitable status.
It was felt at the time that an interim structure could be built on the Finn Bay Road site for much less money, time, and red-tape than the dream hall without interfering with that plan when all the hoops had been jumped through. So, as the result of a huge volunteer effort in 1998 and 1999, a structure was built on the Finn Bay Road property that has come to be known as "the Gazebo", and which has been the site of many dances and other outdoor events.
The Gazebo remains an important and valued asset for the community even though it lacks the infrastructure needed to replace the heated indoor facilities lost with the old Hall. After the Gazebo was completed, work on the grounds continued, and the focus turned once again to the desire for a large, warm, functioning indoor space. Drawings and a model were made to encourage ideas from the community, and more funds were raised. The energy needed to complete this project, however, was still daunting. The Community Society Board at that time found the projected cost and necessary people-power to be an unrealistic target. Another stumbling block was the water and sewer installation on the property, a prerequisite for subdivision and gaining title. In fact, this block has not yet been surmounted, and the Water Board retains ownership of the property to this day.
The Gazebo. Photo courtesy of Brian Voth
In 2000, the Lund Elementary School was closed by the School District due to declining enrollment. For the next few years, the Lund Educational Society offered an alternative program at the School, through the work of parents and community members and the assistance of SD#47 and other provincial agencies.
Meanwhile, the Club filed a name change with BC Registry Services in 2001 to became the Lund Community Society – Serving the Malaspina Peninsula, and went on to register as a charitable organization in 2003, operating under the provisions of British Columbia’s Societies Act.
Finally, even the alternative School programs were abandoned due to insufficient enrolment and lack of funding support. The School District decided to sell the building and property to raise funds for other capital projects in the District.
In the Fall of 2003 a referendum was held to approve the purchase of the Lund School building by the Powell River Regional District. The referendum passed and in April of 2004 title passed from SD#47 to the Powell River Regional District Area A. A grant of $35,000 was received from the Vancouver Foundation towards the purchase of the building. It was felt by many that this was an unparalleled opportunity for the community to gain back an indoor facility to replace some of what had once been enjoyed in the original Lund Hall, so the building was leased by the Lund Community Society to operate as a multi-use Community Recreation Centre.
Over the years, the Centre has been renovated to include a dedicated library, a licensed kitchen, and two multi-purpose community-use rooms, one large and one small. A weekly playgroup for infants and toddlers began to grow in numbers, and as the children aged, become a need for a preschool as well. Renovations created a dedicated room and, in 2010, Puddlejumpers Preschool opened and an outdoor play centre for small children continues to be improved.
The Community Centre is used on a nearly daily basis year-round, and the Gazebo is well used in the warmer months. The LCS also puts on events elsewhere in and around and acts as the umbrella for many programs in Lund.