It’s not just the hub of the community — it’s the heart and soul, Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank Coun. Barry Dalrymple said of the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre and volunteer fire department that burned overnight Wednesday.
“It’s the community’s lifeblood,” Dalrymple said Thursday. “I know community halls are important to all communities they are in, but you’ll find in some of these rural communities it’s far more crucial because we don’t have school gyms to back it up, (and) we don’t have church halls.”
Dalrymple spent several hours Thursday morning at the fire scene, and was joined by “a tonne” of other area residents.
While “there were a lot of people with tears in their eyes,” Dalrymple said residents are now looking toward the future.
“By the time I had left it was, ‘What do we have to do tonight? What do we have to do tomorrow? What are the first steps to getting this rebuilt?’”
Brad Johns, a former area councillor who because of district re-distribution now represents Middle and Upper Sackville-Lucasville, was a key person in getting the $4.5-million facility built in 2004.
Johns said Thursday morning he spoke with Mayor Peter Kelly and was told “it’s a priority to get this building up and running again as soon as possible.”
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say it’s a total loss,” Johns said after visiting the scene.
Lindsay Shano, who worked in the upstairs daycare that housed about 80 children, said on Thursday the centre “really brought everyone together.”
“Give us some hammers and nails and the community will put it back together,” she proclaimed.
Members of the volunteer fire department were able to get their equipment out of the building during the blaze, as a fire wall separated their section from the community centre.
Dalrymple said the community hopes to keep the bays available to the fire department while the rebuilding process takes place.
– with files from Ryan Taplin