© Guardian photo
The federal and provincial governments are spending close to $400,000 to upgrade facilities across P.E.I. Representing those facilities are, from left, George O'Connor, president of the Benevolent Irish Society; Corey Frizzell, deputy mayor of Cornwall; Doug Cooke, representing the Winsloe Lions Club; and Kent Croken, representing the Emerald Community Centre and Train Station.
Members of the Benevolent Irish Society weren't shy about how they're going to spend part of those federal and provincial dollars — on a new shade of green.
Tony Dolan, first vice-president of the BIS, joked at a press conference on Wednesday that the painter who did the walls inside the main hall on the top floor did a less than admirable job.
"It's a God awful colour,'' he told The Guardian in true Irish form. "It's supposed to be lighter.''
The provincial and federal governments announced a total of $380,720 will be spent to upgrade a few facilities Islandwide - the BIS, Winsloe Lions Club, Cornwall Civic Centre and the Emerald Community Centre and Train Station.
National Revenue Minister Gail Shea and Ron MacKinley, provincial minister of Rural Development, were on hand for the announcement. The feds are contributing $184,598 from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund while the province is throwing in $129,200 under the Island Community Fund.
The BIS is getting $71,594 from the feds and $39,200 from the province for new siding and the replacement of 11 windows, new flooring, new light fixtures, air conditioning and an addition to the main floor stage, additional storage space, improvements to the library/genealogy centre, paving and, of course, a lighter shade of green on the walls.
"It's important to have a cultural centre like this to promote the Irish culture and heritage,'' Dolan said.
The Winsloe Lions Club is getting $43,861 from the federal government and $40,000 from the province to add a new front entrance to its facility, replace the basement ceiling, remove and relocate decking, add storage and meeting rooms and expand the kitchen.
Today, the Lions Club in Winsloe boasts 17 members and has bounced back from a devastating fire in 2002. Last year, the club donated $30,000 to various groups and charities.
The Town of Cornwall has received $16,643 from the feds and $12,800 from the province for new air conditioner units for the main floor rooms in the Civic Centre.
Deputy Mayor Corey Frizzell said there were cost overruns from what was essentially a rebuild. By the time the town spent the budgeted $2 million there wasn't anything left over for the AC units.
The Emerald Recreation Club will receive $52,500 from the feds and $37,200 from the province to carry out upgrades to the community centre and train station in Emerald. Improvement work to the community centre will include insulation of floor and exterior walls, new windows and doors, upgrades to electrical, painting, an air exchange, a portable stage as well as tables and chairs. Work at the train station will include a new roof and flue, upgrades to wiring, exterior painting and new signage.
Kent Croken, who was there to represent Emerald, said the two buildings are the heart of the community.
"Really, these are the only two public buildings Emerald has and without them we wouldn't see our neighbours,'' Croken said.