Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre officially opens on Saturday
After five years of planning and construction, the public can see the new Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre in all its glory this Saturday, June 16.
The official grand opening celebration will feature a children’s carnival and a host of free family-friendly activities in the afternoon, followed by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The evening event will include dinner, silent auction, live music and a comedy show.
Todd Ducharme, co-chair of the Spirit Centre’s fundraising committee, which organized the event, said although the process has involved a lot of work and time from a large group of dedicate volunteers, it’s all been worth it.
“The place is going to be there for the next 40 or 50 years for people to enjoy,” he said.
“Most of us have heard the old adage that nothing good comes easy and nothing good comes fast. It’s taken a lot of hours and taken a group of people with long-term dedication to get it to where it is today.”
Organizers decided having a free family event in the afternoon was an ideal way to get people into the facility to see all the things it has to offer. On top of the free activities, there will be informational displays set up throughout the field house letting people know what’s going on in town.
“This will give an opportunity for user groups such as lacrosse or badminton or those kind of things to come out and showcase their clubs as well, and show what’s available here in Westlock,” he said.
The evening portion of the event will also appeal to a broad range of people, with dinner, dancing, a comedian, a silent auction and some live musical performances.
“It’s a great time to have a few drinks, have something to eat and dance the night away,” he said.
The event will also be the final major fundraiser for the Spirit of Westlock Foundation, which so far has raised $1.3 million for the facility. With a final goal of $1.6 million, Ducharme said there is still a ways to go but once people see the facility, more sponsors may come on board.
“It’s more than just an ice surface,” he said. “The multi-purpose field house, the walking track, the meetings rooms, the fitness centre, the child-mind area … having a venue that people like Randy Travis will stop in our town is another reason this facility needs to be here.”
Mayor Bruce Lennon said that after waiting patiently for so long for the facility to be completed, residents of the area should take in Saturday’s festivities to see first-hand what kind of facility we now have.
“First of all they’ll get to see the building, and the different kinds of things that will happen there,” he said. “I think it’s going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people.”
More importantly, he said, it’s a great way to celebrate what has proved to be one of Westlock’s most significant accomplishments in recent memory.
“We think it’s more than bricks and mortar, we think it’s an edifice for our community showing what we can do once we make up our mind,” he said. “It’s not only the Town of Westlock, there’s lots of people in the foundation who are from the county as well.”
For Ducharme, the main reason for residents to come out to this event is simply to truly appreciate what a gem this will be for this community.
“If you went to 100 towns in Alberta with a population of 5,000 or less, you wouldn’t find another facility like this,” he said. “It really is first-class, and people need to come and see it.”
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