A little community that leads the way

With hammers, nails and wood, Elkford is building itself up

by Kali Love —

Dean McKerracher, the mayor of Elkford, B.C., takes pride in his community. In 2010, looking forward to the year ahead, McKerracher said the community's goal was to become as independent as possible instead of relying on the taxes brought in from Teck. In 2011, McKerracher said Elkford is focusing more on construction and development.

The biggest priority is the construction of the new Community Centre in Elkford. Ground is set to be broken in April and McKerracher has promised Teck that the building will be completed by December.

“I have committed to Teck that we would be ready for operations on December 1 to have Christmas parties,” said McKerracher. “That is the commitment I have made, even if I have to go and hammer in nails myself.”

The building will be 17,000 square feet, the banquet facility will seat 300 people for a meal and there will be a playschool with an outdoor play area. Also included in the plans are meeting spaces with dividing walls and a stage for performing arts.

“We have never had a (performing arts stage),” said McKerracher. “I am hoping once the stage is in place we can get an active theatre group—that will be fun. The facility itself will be wired for Internet and have a 20-foot drop-screen.”

Sharpening skills

McKerracher is also eagerly anticipating the construction of a firefighting training centre. The municipal council recently approved a $125,000 contribution towards the centre and Columbia Basin Trust has donated $40,000. Once this facility is completed, firefighters from around the region and Teck employees can come and train in Elkford.

“It would be a three-storey structure,” said McKerracher. “(Training staff would have the ability to) fill it with smoke and the firemen would go in and crawl around and try to find people.”

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