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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Athabasca Community Centre

I was out for a walk the other day, when I saw the demolition notice on the Athabasca Community Centre, so I thought I should grab some pictures while I had the chance.

The Athabasca Community Centre was Athabasca's community hall, event-holding-place, and town gathering point for God knows how long. And, it's because of that age why it's about to go.

The Athabasca Regional Multiplex was built to be its replacement. The Multiplex opened one year ago, and the Community Centre has sat empty ever since.

With historical preservation being such a large part of Athabasca's identity, I'm surprised there was no movement afoot to preserve it...turn it into an interpretive centre or something like that. I remember one town councillor informally suggested retrofitting it into an office building and donating it to the overcrowded Athabasca University, but that idea never got off the ground.

Just yesterday I discovered that it was sold to Buy Low Foods -- the town's independent grocery store -- and that Buy Low intends to build a new store on this spot.

The Community Centre had two levels. Each one was fully outfitted with kitchen and saw many banquets, dances, and ceremonies in its day.

I covered a lot of events there in my two years of reporting. It's going to leave quite an empty hole in Athabasca's downtown landscape.

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