Letters To The Editor

Letter to the Editor – Apr 2021

Dear Editor,

We would like to commend the efforts of the Board of the Bragg Creek Community Association (BCCA) for alerting our community to the present difficulties the organization faces.

Among the BCCA’s guiding principles are to foster community and to operate and maintain their asset, Bragg Creek Community Center (Center) in a “financially viable” manner. After the Center reopened in 2001 the board quickly recognized meeting these two mandates simultaneously would be difficult. The management then undertook an aggressive, and largely successful, marketing initiative to attract commercial business which subsidize user rates. Some were disappointed with a Center, which, although beautiful, was not the “OLD” BCCA Center, with its volunteer staff and “everyone has a key” policy. In 2005 the Board, recognizing without community engagement and collective ownership the building would never survive, launched a “Charm Offensive” designed to attract community members with interesting and affordable programming, concerts, fundraising activities, the continuation and expansion of Bragg Creek Days, and things of this nature. This effort continues to this day.

Obviously COVID-19 has had a major, unforeseen, detrimental effect on the BCCA’s finances. But time has proven the biggest challenge to attaining financial viability and not crushing board enthusiasm has been the sheer size and complexity of the Center and the lot it occupies. (In all fairness the re-builders expected population growth which has not come to pass.) The fact of the matter is owning the building and the lot it sits on is very costly. Consider the BCCA is in the hole about 35% every year before the doors even open due to utilities and operating expenses. The challenges of running a NON-PROFIT facility this large in a community this small while keeping user fees low is a major challenge. Without the support of and grant funding from the RVC Rec Board these many years, this facility may have closed long ago. Further, as time passes, unexpected things break down and need to be replaced making budgeting difficult. The flooding of the building when the fire suppression system failed in 2016 and the resulting drain on cash reserves for another rebuild certainly did not help either.

Over 50 years many Creekers, Foothillers and Redwoodians have served on the board of the BCCA and the Ladies Auxiliary and countless citizens have volunteered. For many newcomers, us included, this was our introduction to Bragg Creek. For a many of us the BCCA was not only the first time we got involved in a community, (let alone THIS community), it was also the first time we served on a proper board. Everyone who has served on the BCCA board quickly comes to recognize the overwhelming fiscal challenges. We can say with a high degree of confidence that the goal of making the Center viable has been and continues to be the overriding concern of most board members since the building was rebuilt. If there have been questions in the management of this facility, all decisions have been honest ones made by board members and staff dedicated to fulfilling their fiduciary duty to both BCCA members and the community at large. They did their best with the information theyhadatthetime.Tothinkotherwise does a disservice to all our community members who have and continue to serve on the board of the BCCA and the staff who have worked for the organization.

The Center and a large chunk of the lot it occupies is an ASSET and a LIABILITY owned by the BCCA. It is more than a building, it has been where new friends have met and where we have said goodbye to old friends, it is where our children have gone to play and where we adults have gone to party. We honour our fallen within its walls and it is our place of worship. It is more than a building…. these walls hold community. This is not the first time we have been at the precipice, but it may be the last. We urge all community members to rally to the call and assist BCCA in whichever way they can.

Dave Rupert & Julie Handrahan

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