Langford’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 is getting a whole new look this year, with significant renovations set to begin as early as May.
At an open house Saturday afternoon showcasing the new designs, branch president Norm Scott said the long-awaited improvements to their Station Avenue building will have wide-ranging benefits for the branch as a business, and for its members.
“It’s a new vision, a new look. Members and guests will be able to come in and go ‘wow,’” said Scott. “With the expansion of our kitchen and other areas within our building, we are going to be able to do even better than we are now.”
Scott said the building’s current kitchen limits what they are able to do, but once the renovations are complete, the larger kitchen will help the branch to increase its profits. Scott said the legion must be able to operate effectively if it is to fulfil its goal of supporting veterans and families in need.
Planned renovations include a small section of a new second-storey part of the building to provide additional office space. The bar is set to be enlarged and moved, washrooms are going to be moved from the middle of the building to allow the dining and bar areas to be greatly enlarged and overall the entire space will be more open and fitted with modern finishing.
“Overall it will look – to today’s standards – like a fun place to be,” said Scott. “The biggest thing though is probably the updates to our electrical and water systems, and we are going to be fully (covered by fire sprinklers).”
Over the past five years, the branch has had to spend at least $40,000 on basic repairs just to keep their building operating and would need to spend at least an additional $200,000 to allow it to keep business at its current level. The branch has been working on and off since 2007 on plans for more dramatic renovations that would grow its business.
While the original plans stalled during a change in leadership at the branch, around four years ago the current leadership returned to the project in earnest.
“The cost to replace this building completely was around $17 million, way past our budget,” said Scott. “This renovation is not cheap, we are hopefully looking at around $3.5 million … but based on our budget it is affordable and will allow this branch to last another 60 years.”
The goal is for renovations to start on May 2, and they will be done in steps to limit the impact on the branch’s operations. Completion of all renovations is expected to take between nine and 12 months.