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Castor seniors club may become social agency hub instead

·3 min read

Town of Castor council heard a plan to possibly change a seniors club into a Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) office.

The idea was floated to council at their Oct. 12 regular meeting held one day later than usual because of Thanksgiving.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee presented councillors with a report about the Golden Circle Club’s idea to temporarily turn their building over to the town while they take a hiatus from operations.

The building, which is town property, is located at 5103 51st. Street.

For readers unfamiliar with the club, it is a recreational organization open to anyone 40 years and older and offers activities such as bingo, cards, floor curling and potluck suppers.

Robblee stated the club’s idea went on to propose that perhaps in a year or so the club might like to take the building back and restart operations.

He also noted the Golden Circle Club was planning on sending an official letter to the town about this request.

Robblee also noted he had a proposal from the local FCSS organization to take over the building including paying $250 rent and perhaps offering some of the activities that the Golden Circle Club previously offered.

Councillors spent some time discussing the Golden Circle Club’s idea which, if granted, meant the building would either be left vacant for the time being or rented to someone else, such as the FCSS group.

The CAO noted taxpayers will still have expenses, such as insurance, regardless of whether the building is in use or not.

The CAO stated the building in question has three furnaces for some unknown reason, and therefore goes through a lot of gas every winter. He said the gas bill every month can be up to $700.

The total annual utility cost for the building can be up to $13,000 if the building is in use he added.

Robblee noted the building in question does have one other tenant, a carpentry group.

The FCSS office is currently located in the town office and pays $500 rent. If FCSS was allowed to move into the Golden Circle Club building, noted the CAO, town staff already have a lot of uses in mind for the vacated town office space.

Coun. Kevin McDougall stated he liked the idea of FCSS moving into the Golden Circle building even if the utility bill or janitorial costs are a bit higher because it would bring some organizations together.

During discussions several councillors asked why the Golden Circle Club was taking a break. Robblee stated he got the impression the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the club’s operations, such as attending fundraising casinos. He noted the Golden Circle Club has no debts owing to the town.

However, Coun. Trudy Kilner pointed out that if FCSS is allowed to move into the Golden Circle building, the club can’t really move back in later if FCSS is in there.

Mayor Richard Elhard stated he would like to see the building in use. “It’s good rental space,” said the mayor.

Councillors decided to table the issue until they get the Golden Circle Club’s official letter of request.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review

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