Kimberley Project Society calls it quits

Society had a hand in building most of Kimberley's sporting facilities

The Kimberley Project Society has been around for a very long time — organizing in February of 1957. Many people in Kimberley may be unaware that it even existed, but City Councillor Albert Hoglund — who’s been around a while himself — says that if you think about a recreation facility in Kimberley, from arenas to ski lifts to the Aquatic Centre, some financial help from the Kimberley Project Society will be in its history.

Last week, Hoglund, one of the three remaining board members, handed over a cheque for $2944 to Terry Oscarson of the Kimberley Community Foundation. That was the last of the Project Society’s funds and the Society has now officially folded.

It was a combination of things that led to its dissolution, but Hoglund says the writing was on the wall when the Sullivan Mine closed in 2001.

“When Cominco closed, the Society lost about 95 per cent of its payroll deduction donations,” Hoglund said. “We had other organizations donating through employee payroll deductions too, but Cominco was the big one. There hasn’t been much revenue coming in so in 2009 the directors decided to wind it down.”

The Kimberley District Recreational Projects Society was formed in 1957 when 75 people met to discuss to projects vital to the community — the arena and a ski lift.

The first board consisted of J. Kirk, J. McFarlane, M. DesBrisay, J. Glennie, G. Felker, H. Patterson and Don Lane.

The final name is notable as Mr. Lane served on the Society for all these years and is still on the board at the time it closes. Don Lane will go down in the books as the last president of the Kimberley Project Society.

‘We’d all like to thank Don Lane for his time and for sticking with it all the way through,” Hoglund said.

At the time in 1957, the arena was officially condemned for public gathering.

At the same time the need for a ski lift on North Star Mountain was recognized.

In its first year of operation the Project Society raised $50,000 for the new Civic Centre and $45,000 on a T-Bar lift at the ski hill.

The first hockey game in the new Civic Centre, which would not have been constructed without the Project Society, was played on December 24, 1960 between the Midget Reps and the Blarchmont Reps.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Project Society had a hand in all of Kimberley’s sporting facilities,” Hoglund said.