EDITORIAL: Legion needs community help

Local project needs the support of volunteers to get off the ground

The Prince Edward branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Langford is looking for leaders in the community to step up and help plan a new building.

It’s a great opportunity for people to give back to an organization that has a longstanding tradition of helping others. The venerable old lady on Station Avenue, also known as Branch #91, has become too costly to maintain in its current state, which is understandable considering it was built in 1977. And the community it serves continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

Over the past 40 or so years, the Legion has changed as well. While assisting veterans is still its primary focus, the Legion has found new ways to give back to the community. The Goldstream Food Bank shares the same space, and the branch supports local charities, youth and seniors groups, as well as providing school scholarships for deserving students. It has also served as a popular place for social gatherings,  community meetings and live entertainment.

Although nothing is set in stone at this point, new infrastructure on the existing site may consist of several storeys, incorporating a broad variety of uses. It will be a complex undertaking, whatever the scale or scope.

We applaud the Legion executive’s decision to make reaching out to the community a priority. The building committee needs volunteers with expertise in construction, residential and commercial design, planning, zoning and leasing, and financing. Having the right folks come forward will undoubtedly reduce costs and allow money saved to be put to better use doing what the Legion does best, which is helping others.

The West Shore has a long and storied history of volunteers answering the bell, big time, when it comes to helping complete projects that make a positive difference in the community.

Local businesses and trades people donated time and material to complete Eagle Ridge Arena Community Centre in Langford, the dry floor arena becoming the first phase of what is now known as City Centre Park.

After Bear Mountain Arena (now The Q Centre) in Colwood was completed, volunteers worked through weekends to build a road to Ocean Boulevard to alleviate traffic issues before and after events.

We hope the toughest task the Legion will face in assembling a building committee for its new home is trying to pare down a long list of competent, caring candidates with the expertise, dedication and talents the job requires. We know they’re out there, and the Legion needs their help.

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