Westport Lions members the late Earl Grace, left, and Neil Scott look over beach house plans 30 years ago. The new beach house replaced the 30-year-old cement block buildings in the background.
Westport Lions Roar
By Lion Bob Reddick
One Thursday night in April 1991, Neil Scott presented a vision to construct a clubhouse and improve the Lions Beach.
At that meeting, the members passed a motion that sent money to five organizations: $250 to the Kidney Foundation; $1,000 for the Canada Day parade; $3,000 for the Westport Creative Child Care Centre and $2,500 to the Westport Harbour Committee’s island docking improvement project. But the largest financial commitment was to spend $75,000 on constructing a clubhouse and make improvements to the beach.
Building project chairperson, Lion Neil Scott, introduced plans for a two-storey, 1,900 square building to contain modern washrooms, change rooms and storage for the club’s collection of hospital beds, wheelchairs and tables and chairs used for the summer bingos.
Lion Tony Dunleavy, who designed the preliminary plans, had the foresight to include wheelchair accessibility to the second storey and large deck. An elevated driveway made this possible.
Lion Neil told The Mirror that the club plans to contribute $25,000 toward the construction costs with existing funds and raise another $25,000 in the summer through a direct mailing campaign.
Individuals and organizations that have benefitted from Lions support in the past will be asked to help out with labour. The Lions intended to organize three work bees and ask local tradespeople to donate a day’s work.
In addition to the new building, the Lions planned to upgrade the beach’s playground equipment to meet current safety standards.
“We have high hopes the community will realize how supportive the Lions are and will support the club when it is needed, Neil Scott said. Many things in town need money, and we will continue to support them. We all have to work hard for the community.”
“We’re trying to bring the beach from the 1950s to the 1990s,” added Lions President Earl Grace. “We spend thousands of dollars to attract people to the area, and then we show them antiquated facilities. This project will help encourage tourists to return.”
Earl proposed that more people will come to the area because of the improved beach area, and the harbour committee plans to beautify and improve the island dock facilities.
The object of the Lions Club is not to have a whole lot of money in the bank, but to get it out into the community where it can do a lot of good,” said the president. “This is a service organization.”
“We’ve now committed ourselves to money we don’t have in the bank. We’re going to have to work hard in the months ahead, and we’re going to need the support of the community.” (Source: The Mirror, April 1991) (There will be future articles about this project.)