Update: In our March 25 story “Penticton Legion considers selling premises” April 5 was incorrectly listed as the date for the general meeting when the proposition will be voted on. The meeting date is April 15 at 1 p.m.
While they are still far from putting their building up for sale, the Penticton Legion is considering the possibility of selling off their Martin Street clubhouse.
Murray Grandy, president of the Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, said they are letting members know how much the Legion is struggling financially and getting permission to sell the building should it become necessary.
“There is no decision to actually sell the building yet,” said Grandy, adding that members will vote on the idea at their April 5 general meeting. Even then, they will still not be able to sell.
“It has to be OK’d by Command (RCL B.C./Yukon Command),” said Grandy. “All this is getting permission, if it should become necessary.”
Should the building be sold, the idea is that the Legion will rent smaller premises elsewhere.
“Some people say to sell or downsize, that kind of thing, others prefer to keep the building and so do I, but it’s kind of hard to know and you can’t get everyone together,” said Grandy. “We will probably have a better idea on the meeting on the fifth of April.”
Like other Legions in communities around the province, the Penticton branch has been struggling with declining revenues and membership for years. Grandy estimates that there are currently only 500 paid-up members. And of their $45 annual dues, Grandy said only $10 remains with the local branch while the rest goes to Command.
They are also paying a small mortgage on the Martin Street building, Grandy adds.
“It’s hard to say what the overall problem is. Declining membership and participation? I was told by Command when I took it over that the yearly bill combined was about $40,000. It’s a lot of money every month” said Grandy. “We’re trying to put on functions there, rent the hall. But it takes a lot of that kind of thing to come up with a proper amount of money.”
Even though the Legion opened up membership several years ago by removing the military service requirement, Grandy said that hasn’t slowed the trend. While he agrees changes to, and enforcement of, drinking and driving laws are a good thing, Grandy said their business has changed as a result.
“It has stopped people who would have stopped by for a couple of beers on the way home from work from coming by anymore,” said Grandy.