The Westport Lions Club working against the side of Westport Mountain as they construct the new beach house in 1991.
Westport Lions Roar
By Lion Bob Reddick
In May 1991, the Westport Lions Club decided to rejuvenate the beach.
Neil Scott, the chairperson of the Beach Rejuvenation project, sent a letter to all the organizations and people that the Lions Club of Westport had helped in the past. Neil stated that before swimming lessons for the children would start that summer, the Club planned to:
- increase the sand aspect of the beach;
- purchase and install new playground equipment;
- construct a new gazebo;
- build a new beach house, complete with washrooms, change rooms, an office for the instructors, and a storage room for wheelchairs, hospital beds, tables and chairs.
Seventy–five thousand dollars in 1991 was a lot of money for a small Lions Club to raise, but that is what the Westport Lions Club did.
Although a $75,000 budget for a project of this magnitude might seem low, the Lions were confident that the budget was realistic by using volunteer labour and buying local materials.
The Lions had already saved $25,000 for the project. The Club hoped to raise the remaining $50,000 through fundraisers like dances, raffles, an auction and donations.
Lion Neil assured the community that the regular contributions the Club makes to minor and junior hockey, figure skating, the Santa Claus parade, the Halloween parade, the Mobility bus, fire victims, eyeglasses and other causes would continue.
The letter closed by asking for a donation for the project and volunteers to assist in construction.
The mailing campaign was a huge success. Each week the Club published the names and amounts of each contributor. A total of 225 people, businesses, and organizations contributed $19,536.53. In addition, the Club published the number of hours non-Lion individuals spent on the project.
Phil Rutherford wrote in The Mirror:
Volunteers made the difference. People who are not Lions Club members and may never be, devoted almost as much effort as their service club counterparts.
Of the 2,264 hours of manual labour logged, local citizens put in 1,130. That’s just four hours less than the total labour put in by club members. It’s also a prime example of the giving attitude of this community.
Generous local contractors also donated much of the material and expert installation. Heavy equipment was brought in at no charge. Professional consultants gave freely of their time. Eateries and individuals provided food and coffee for the hungry workers.
The Beach Rejuvenation project in 1991 was a tremendous example of a community working together to achieve a goal. The Westport Lions have demonstrated over the years their ability to meet a challenge and see it through to completion.
The Club is most appreciative of the continual support and generosity of the citizens and businesses of the community.