The North Island could see some new community projects come to life all thanks to the local rotary clubs. The 32nd rotary auction raised roughly $55,000 from the two-day weekend event. Rotarian Treasurer Dale Dorward noted that after accounting for expenses, the total usable funds would range around $45,000, which will go toward the Rotary Club of Port McNeill and Port Hardy.
Port McNeill will receive around $15,000 from the auction while the Port Hardy club will get the remaining $30,000. As for how the rotary clubs will spend that money is still yet to be seen.
“We don’t have a specific project right now because we just don’t have anything in mind, but there are a couple interesting thoughts that came up,” he said.
Dorward mentioned one possible project could be a bike trail which would follow alongside Shrug Lake trail. The project would make the trail accessible not only for mountain bikes but for all sorts of bicycles. “That intrigues me,” Dorward said.
Most of the money goes back into the community, he mentioned, since the rotary club typically does small projects which improve the town’s parks or bus stop shelters.
One project, adding new features to the local playgrounds was one of the many parts of town that the rotary club wanted to see improved. “We put $5,000 in the playground this year,” he said.
The rotary club also donates money to Eagle View Elementary School’s and Port Hardy Secondary School’s breakfast programs.
As for recently finished projects, the rotary club “finished the Tex Lyon trail pavilion, that was a $5,000 donation,” Dorward added. “It’s for the hikers, a number of people who get out there. It’s a place to get out of the rain. That was a great little project to finish up too.”
As for what the club wants to do next, “we’d like to sink our teeth into something pretty quick that will chew up $50,000 – something that can be substantial for Port Hardy.” Dorward said the bike trail would be quite a challenge as far as projects go, but he’s confident it’s possible.
The executive committee, which is comprised of 12 Rotarians who are elected by the club members, decide how the club will spend the money raised from this year’s auction.
Dorward concluded that the only concern that may hinder projects is if the project extends onto district property. “The district has been really great over the years as far as all the things you see around town. We did the pavilion out at Storey’s Beach, the pavilion at the end of the breakwater, the fishing park, we put in boat ramps. The district has always been a great partner,” he said.
In the interview, Dorward added the rotary club wants to continue improving public spaces for Port Hardy locals. “You can do all sorts of things that you know has to be done – just go at it and do it,” he said. “You have to have a strong community to do all those things. It brings people together and creates a strong bond to have spaces like that.”