Evergreen, a United Neighbourhood co-ordinator Linda Bruins says a $76,200 Ontario Trillium grant will help her organization put a new roof and insulate the former Hells Angels clubhouse. The building will be used as a community centre.
NO FEE! NO FUSS!Finally... Prepaid credit cards with NO transaction fees! Find it at Xtra Cash!Click here for full list of services
THUNDER BAY -- Paul Pugh says he likes to joke with out-of-town politicians that Thunder Bay managed to convince the Hells Angels to donate their clubhouse to a good cause.
What the McKellar Ward councillor neglects to mention is the fact they did so at gunpoint.
That chapter in the city’s past has been long forgotten, the heavily armored house now the property a community organization dedicated to improving the neighbourhood around them.
On Wednesday Evergreen a United Neighbourhood took the next step to improve the building itself, the recipients of a $76,200 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant they plan to use for renovations, including a new peaked roof and insulation.
Linda Bruins, the organization’s co-ordinator, said having a permanent home will make their task much easier moving forward.
“We felt what a great transformation to go from a place of shame for the community somewhat, to a very positive thing. So we’re hoping this will help keep the neighbourhood on a positive track,” Bruins said, hoping it’s the last time people refer to the building as the former Hells Angels clubhouse.
“Basically it will be a place for community meetings. We’re really challenged in this neighbourhood for people to meet. So our board of directors can have meetings here, just to plan all of our activities.”
MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) called it money well spent.
“Communities and neighbourhoods really are integral and important, I believe, to people’s feelings of security and happiness,” Mauro said. “And I think over the last 20 or 30 years that dynamic has changed and the work that Linda and her board and all the volunteers are doing in this neighbourhood is an incredibly worthwhile project for us to support.
“People need something to rally around. They need something to rely on. They need something they can count on.”
Pugh called it a success story, one that’s starting to grow.
“Evergreen has sprouted offsprings,” Pugh said.
"So we’re seeing new evergreens – well, they’re called something different – beginning to go in other parts of the city. We are a city of communities and it’s absolutely crucial that we revive, restore and strengthen the feeling of community in neighbourhoods and it’s really gratifying. It’s really a thing for the future that our city is starting to work that Linda and Evergreen began starting to develop in other parts of the city.”
Wednesday also marked the start of Evergreen’s annual winter carnival.
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.