Renovations planned for the Sunnybrae Community Hall have been put on hold following complaints about the proposal for a makeover.
At the July 17 board meeting in Salmon Arm, Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors approved $30,625 from the Electoral Area C South Shuswap Community Works Fund to replace the hall’s existing furnace, air conditioning unit, hot water heater and window coverings.
Current community association president Sharda Murray-Kieken made the request for the funds in a June 27 letter to Electoral Area C director Paul Demenok, saying the renovations would “substantially reduce our natural gas and electricity demands…, make the hall more efficient and reduce our costs, which have been steadily increasing over the past years.”
But, former Sunnybrae Community Hall official Opal Hendrickson cried foul on the proposal.
“As a past secretary for the Sunnybrae Community Association, I kept some copies of records and minutes from the most important issues during the time I was on the board,” wrote Hendrickson in a July 30 email to this newspaper, noting the furnace was replaced in October 2009 and the air conditioner was installed in March of 2010.
The minutes from a Nov. 25, 2009 general meeting of the association indicate a new furnace was installed at a cost of $5,545.
Hendrickson says the air conditioner was installed with funding from a general account.
“We had a General Account which contained money from fundraising events and rentals and a Lottery Account which contained the grant money,” wrote Hendrickson. “The furnace was purchased with grant money from the CSRD and the air conditioning came from our general account.
CSRD Financial Services manager Jodi Kooistra says the $5,545 approval for the furnace was given when the late Ted Bacigalupo was Area C director.
Further complicating the issue is the fact the regional district retains documents for five years after which they are destroyed, a practice Kooistra says is common with other regional districts.
She says Murray-Kieken was told by another company that the furnace makes a lot of noise because it is improperly installed – the centre of the building is very warm but the extremities are cold.
In addition, the hot water tank was not properly sized or located, says Kooistra, pointing out it impedes access to the crawl space in the hall, is huge and keeps the hot water heated 24-7 when the hall is only being used a half-dozen times a month.
“Also, the duct work is not properly aligned with the furnace in her (Murray-Kieken’s) opinion and the opinion of the company who has bid on the project now,” says Kooistra.
Murray-Kieken will arrange for a building inspection to see whether the work needs to be done.
“It’s almost like a mini energy audit by an independent third party who has no vested interest in whether the work gets done or not,” says Kooistra. “And the reason I suggested that is so it’s clear it’s transparent and nobody will profit by this. Then we will have a clear, valid opinion and determine whether the upgrades are necessary and whether or not they meet the requirements of the community works fund.”