The Penticton building where veterans have gathered for years to socialize and share war stories may soon be sold.
A decision will be made at the next general meeting of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 40 on April 15 on the fate of their building on Martin Street.
“At the meeting we are going to ask permission to sell the building if it should become necessary,” said President Murray Grandy. “We have had worries over the years, but not to the extent it is now. We are really not bringing in enough money to cover the cost of operating and owning the building.”
The main reasons for the possible sale, are business has slowed with less money coming in from the bar, kitchen and hall rentals and a decline in membership.
If the building were to go on the market, it would probably mean a move to a smaller location, something Grandy doesn’t really want to see happen.
The legion has been in Penticton since 1927. The first building Grandy remembers it being housed in was on Main Street.
It served military service people coming back from various conflicts by providing them with comradeship and a place they could call their own.
Since then it has supported charitable organizations, given bursaries to schools and children of veterans and offered a hall for rent to put on shows and dances.
All it takes now to be a member is to be a Canadian citizen of good standing, but people aren’t joining clubs now like they did in the past. There is also less interest in sitting at a bar, when you know you have to drive home afterward, said Grandy.
Membership is $45 a year, but they only keep $10 of that, with the rest going to command.
Money going out, all total, adds up to about $40,000 in expenses for heat, light and whatever else it takes to keep the building running.
More recently, the legion was further burdened, when someone stole $1,200. It is believed to be an inside job and the thief has not yet been found.
To remedy the situation, the legion has spread word about their plight and hope to replace one of the old pool tables with a smaller bar-sized table to draw in a younger crowd.
That too comes with a price tag attached. It could cost as much as $500 just to have the old pool table, Grandy describes as a dinosaur, removed.
Another hope is that some old members come out and donate money, he said.
“I am not all that optimistic to tell you the truth, but hopefully it will turn around,” he said. “What I would like to see happen is this place get back on its feet, because I think it’s a worthwhile organization for the community and the veterans who are still around.”