Operation Assertion i.e. Save the Carleton Hall

Two days ago, a decision was made to sell the Carleton Hall in East Vancouver at the end of this Scouting Year.

All this over $15,000.

The Numbers

For many years the caretakers of the hall have been asking for help, but not receiving much. Old revenue streams dried up. The Legion that rented the hall at times and donated money folded sometime during the last year, and the rules changed for Direct Access Grants, cutting out that source.

Annual cost to run the hall is $4000. They’ve raised $1700 of that for this year. Usually they can cover the $4000.

Now you may be thinking, “Where does that $15,000 number come from?” That’s five to ten thousand for a new roof, and another ten thousand for other long term repairs and slush fund. Now don’t get me wrong, it won’t fall apart without these repairs, but they still have to be done.

The Hall is assessed at $575,000. When the first mention of selling the property came out, the meeting turned into vultures. So now we have to convince them that selling the Hall is a bad idea, with them firmly gazed affixed on that shiny morsel of a number. Who even knows where that money would disappear to.

The History

I’ll fill this in as we gather more.

  • Moved to the current site from it’s original just north of where it sits now, the Hall has been around since 1947.
  • The current home of 1st South Vancouver

The Bull Shit

At the meeting, quite a few things came up that lead me and others to break the glass, and bring out the emergency Clue-Bat.

  1. The hall committee had found some people willing to help out with fixing the roof and writing grant applications. The problem was they aren’t registered members of Scouts Canada, and the people at that meeting told the hall committee point blank they couldn’t help unless registered.
  2. “Rovers who are aging out and are not willing to work with a younger section do not a have a role in Scouts Canada”

Yeah. WTF. That second golden nugget came out of someone’s mouth when the suggestion was brought to the table that some of the Rovers in 1st South Van, those who are or are approaching the end of the Rover program, were willing to help and become the Hall committee. They basically said they can’t help out. Scouts Canada is desperate to find support for this and other initiatives, and they shot them away. Why not let the Rovers worry about the hall, leaving more time for the already busy leaders to concentrate on the Youth Program. We are suppose to support the leaders, not chase away help!
Not everyone is willing to be a Leader. That’s fine. Then why don’t we find a meaningful role for them. I’d rather have 4 Leaders in a group, and 10 support people than 5 Leaders and no support people. We cannot survive if we only have one job description for all volunteers.

The Plan

Well, there are two things to fix.

  1. A $15,000 infusion of cash to fix the long term maintenance problems
  2. A plan to demonstrate that the long term sustainability of the hall is possible.

That, or devalue the property such that the shiny number doesn’t look so shiny.
Current (not necessarily valid) ideas are:

  1. Get the building listed as a heritage building and protected from destruction
  2. Go on a massive crime spree in the neighbourhood, bringing down property values. But Nick, that takes time to affect property values, you say. Well that’s just how massive it will be.
  3. Poltergeist. I say we volunteer Mark.
  4. Ship in radioactive waste. ie. National’s record

Ok, enough silliness. Onward to the real solutions.

Mark has done some wonderful research, and found that theatre groups are always looking for practice space, which the Hall would fit to a T. At $80 a day, which is ridiculously competitive, we would need to find enough rentals for 50 days a year. If a theatre group were to book the hall it would most likely be in two week (10 paying days) blocks. That 50 day is looking fairly easy.

Other potential groups have already even been identified.

Of course there’s always a catch. Insurance. 3rd party to be more precise. We would have to solve this first, then conquer the world we can rent out the hall.

Of course we could just raise $575,000 and just buy the Hall. But that’s a lot of pop bottles and manure to shovel.

The call

We need everyone. If we are going to save the hall, we are going to need an outpouring of support. Share your ideas, no matter how crazy, silly, incomplete or backwards they may seem. We’ll probably call for a meeting at the hall next week to see how we can move forward. We will assert our ability to keep this hall.

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