Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 on the West Shore is closing as long-awaited renovations are set to begin, ushering in a new era for the branch.
President Norm Scott said as of Monday (May 9), the branch will close entirely. If all goes well, his hope is to have the community hall and kitchen back up and running by November, though it is expected to take a full year for all renovations to be complete.
”I’m feeling nervous, scared, until the final nail is put in and the final paintbrush stroke is done, then maybe I’ll feel more relaxed,” said Scott. “I hope we can give our members what they need, for now, and into the future.”
The centrepiece of the Station Avenue building’s renovations is an expansion of the kitchen, which will allow the bar and restaurant to serve more people, increasing the branch’s profits and allowing it to serve its veterans and the wider community better.
The reno will also see a small section of a new second-storey added to 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 finishings.
While details are yet to be finalized, Scott said his goal is to hold several community events at other venues for the branch’s members during the renovations. He said those could include simply shuttling members to other branches in Greater Victoria for meat draws and similar events, but may also involve the branch setting up shop in a temporary kitchen and hall space.
“I’d like to not just have a kitchen space, I’d love to be able to have a facility where we can host people, but the community is getting tight, it’s tough to find real estate out there,” said Scott. “We feel for our members. For some of them, this is like their home, and we are taking it away from them for a bit.”
Scott said he would welcome any suggestions or offers for temporary space from the community, and encourages those with suggestions to reach out to the branch through its website at rcl91.ca. Members are also encouraged to stay tuned to the branch website for more information on what the branch will be organizing while it is undergoing renovations.