Early History of the
North West Community Association (NWCA)
April 13th, 1974 was the first meeting of a group of Killiney Beach residents. Their goal was to save the beach from private ownership and set up a volunteer Fire Department. The Killiney Beach Community Association (KBCA) was registered in Victoria on Oct 5th 1975 with the first official meeting held on the Beach on August 2nd 1976. The first order of business was to purchase the beach area from the Developer and obtain a building site for the Community Hall. The title for the parkland where the Community Hall is now located, required another four years of KBCA pursuit, to be established. In 1982, KBCA’s application to Parks and Recreation for Community Hall land lease was finally approved. The first lease for five years was signed January 1st 1983, renewable every five years. The KBCA also obtained the water system from developers and the Regional District upgraded it and assumed responsibility for maintaining it in 1982.
In the spring of 1983 (April 3rd), to ensure local ownership, KBCA passed a resolution to build the Hall with association and community funds and not pursue tax revenue through the Regional District. The first fundraising dance and general meeting was held between the four walls and roof (erected by volunteer labor) on July 30th and 31st 1983. In October 1983, the first fire truck was obtained and housed in the current hall. It was removed from the hall whenever there was a meeting or social function. There was no kitchen equipment and an extension cord running from Joe Parnell’s and Bob Conway’s homes provided electricity for lights. These were humble beginnings.
Bill Burby suggested that KBCA form a Seniors Association as they could obtain Provincial Grants. Nora Watkins was the first Killiney Beach Seniors Association (KBSA) President. On Feb 24th 1985, the first grant was applied for, to fund Plumbing and Electricity for the Hall. The Ladies Club helped by purchasing folding tables, chairs and finishing the washrooms. In October 1985, KBCA paid off the Fire Departments outstanding invoice of $7000 for the Truck and Equipment. In the same year, drawings for a Fire Hall and Lounge was submitted to KBCA for funding consideration.
In 1986, an extension was built to house two fire trucks which is the current Fire Hall. The Lounge, built at the same time was used by all three groups, the KBCA, the KBSA and the Fire Department as an office and small recreational facility. Although the Lounge was intended to be used by all groups , it became apparent after a few years that the Fire Department needed more space for training , so the Community Association allowed them to have exclusive use of this area. This required the KBCA to begin planning for the library expansion to provide meeting rooms and offices.
After a local plebiscite, the boundaries for the Fire Department were extended to cover the area from Fintry to Westshores. Until that time, it had been the Killiney Beach Fire Department only. This fire boundary change also allowed residents from the extended fire services area to become members of the KBCA and use the hall.
In May 1989, it was the Seniors (KBSA) who obtained a grant of $10,000 for the paving of the road parking lot. This project was finished with additional donations of $1500 from the Seniors, $1700 from KBCA, $200 from Carpet Bowlers and $450 from the Ladies Club. The Library Annex was eventually built in 1997, through Seniors (KBSA) grant applications through the New Horizons program, as well as significant local fund raising and contributions of community volunteer services and labor.
The main function of the Community Association (KBCA) was to maintain the hall, purchase required equipment, pay for electricity, heat, phone, insurance and maintenance. The association also pursued the upgrading of the Killiney Beach Water System and financially assisted other organizations who required help. In 1992, Frankie Harth formed an efficient Emergency Response Team (ERT) which was financed by the KBCA in the amount of $1034. In 1995, the Seniors (KBSA) donated $300 for equipment for the ERT. There were other donations made from local residents to further fund the ERT service.
The Seniors (KBSA) also put on Pot Luck dinners and dances once a month as well as Soup and Sandwich luncheons every Wednesday to raise money, most of which was donated back to the Community Association or other local charities. Their biggest fund-raising event each year was the Christmas Dinner. The Seniors (KBSA) also purchased numerous essential items for the hall, for everyone’s use, including music system, speakers etc. They built shelves for storage above the kitchen, obtained a grant for upgrading the furnace and heating system and for many years provided janitorial services.
There are several clubs in operation, some for many years. For the most part, they are self funding. The Carpet Bowlers are seniors although anyone can join by taking out a membership with the KBCA. Bowlers contribute to a fund each week which allowed them to donate to many worth while causes. The Ladies Club who meet in private homes have been a valuable support to everyone. They hold an annual Tea and Craft Fair to raise funds, which is donated back to local causes. It was this club that bought the material for making the curb stops on the parking lot to allow the children in the community to play hockey on the parking lot. There is a Dance Club and Darts Club. KBCA provided funding for dart boards to get this club started. The Kids Club has migrated into Youth Groups who provide activities at the Hall. In early years, two residents, Wilf Buettner and Tom Betsill obtained pledges from individuals in the community and raised $900 for the Kids Club by bicycling to Calgary. As the hall usage increased, the Community Association (KBCA) began assuming janitorial costs. It takes a great deal of funding to maintain the hall and members dues certainly do not cover the cost. Rental of the hall is a major source of income and naturally the Clubs are expected to give way, if the hall can be rented. The only requisite for a club to use the Hall is that all members must be a member of the KBCA with annual dues paid.
The KBCA operates all gaming and is responsible for operation of the Bar and Bingo. The Board of KBCA take on issues regarding the entire community (Fintry to Westshores) such as parks, post office, waste station, water and fire protection. KBCA also operates BBQ’s during the year that all can attend. KBCA has also made donations to many worth while charities such as the Cat Scan equipment at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. They have also given their support to the Safe Harbour Committee.
The North Westside Ratepayers Association (NOWESI) was formed in 1993 to communicate our communities needs, to political bodies. It did not contribute any funding to the KBCA as it’s only source of income is through dues of $10 per person annually. Only local taxpayers could be members of this group.
The purpose of this Association was to provide an interface between the local communities of the North Westside and Regional District or Provincial governing bodies dealing with Roads, Parks, Waste Station, Water and Fire services. It was this body that obtained grants of $62,000 for the original Waste Transfer Station. The facility was originally operated by the Waste Station Committee of NOWESI, who had one part-time paid Site Manager, Harold Boulter. All the work at the transfer site was originally done by a volunteer committee and funded by a $40 per year user fee. Road edge delineators along Westside Road were originally pursued by Frankie Harth who convinced the Highways department to install them along critical drop off areas of the road. This initiative was followed up by NOWESI Roads Committee who by working with the KBCA and KBSA groups, obtained signage and additional road edge delineators from BC Highways (MOTi) over the years. It was NOWESI who through negotiations with BC Tel, arranged private telephone services for the community.
The Parks Committee of NOWESI presented a proposal to the Regional District for a Green Belt of 25,000 hectares surrounding our community, covering the area from Fintry to Sugar Loaf, to provide a legacy for present and future children of the area. The NOWESI Parks Committee also were part of the Westside Road Parks Planning Committee of the Regional District. It was the Chairman of this Committee, along with the President of NOWESI, that were able to get the Boat Launch at Fintry completed. This was a project that took 8 years of consultation to achieve. It was the same two individuals, with the support of the KBCA and Safe Harbours Committee, that finally finished the Dock at Killiney Beach and started the upgrading of the Beach area. All of the individuals on these groups contributed their time, efforts and expenses without compensation. Over the recent years, the role of NOWESI has been taken up by the Board of the former KBCA now called the North West Community Association (NWCA).
There have been a great number of “unsung heroes” from our community that have worked tirelessly behind the scenes. They are too numerous to list but we are forever grateful for their dedication. One person who needs to be singled out, moved here in 1977 and has been a member of the KBCA since inception. Wilf Buettner was the Fire Marshall in 1980 and worked tirelessly for the community. Like so many others, it was a labor of love for the area and the people he chose to live with. Wilf’s contributions are too many to list. He, regularly maintained and repaired the building and equipment at the Hall. He spearheaded the group that built the office at the Transfer Station. When a volunteer group was organized by a NOWESI committee to clean up the roadsides in our area, it was Wilf who volunteered his time and truck to pick up bags from the side of the road. This first clean up was done primarily by Seniors and Fintry youth in 1995. It has been an annual event since then.
Our North Westside Community was originally an “outpost” as far as the Regional District was concerned. None of what we have today would exist without the efforts of the many community volunteers, including the KBSA and KBCA/NWCA. It was their efforts which created the first Fire Department, the Community Center, the Killiney Beach Firehall, the Lounge, the Library Annex, Killiney Beach Park and eventually the Shorts Creek Fire Hall. Our Community Hall has been maintained as a meeting place, recreational facility and a Library for all members of the North Westside Community Association.