The History Continues – the 1990’s

The community starts to grow and change with the influx of “newcomers” from the coast or Alberta. The 1971 BC Centennial grant allowed the addition of a kitchen and eating area on the south side of the hall, including another entrance and porch. This eating area also acted as a very large bedroom, with many children tucked in their sleeping bags, while their parents danced into the night.

The Roe Lake & District Recreation Commission was incorporated under the Society’s Act in November 22, 1977 with Gordon Brown, J.E. Slate, Gordon Charlton, Irene Barker and Verna Charlton as the initial Directors. Shortly thereafter the ownership of the property was transferred from the Roe Lake Women’s Institute, which had become inactive. During the 1970’s the first ball diamond was built by Randy Bishop, Guy Erickson who owned the skidder and Rick Defehr (one time owner of the Lucky Strike) and many hours of volunteer labour. The Alpine 4H Beef club was active during this time and used the ball field for their Club Achievement day and livestock exhibition – an event that continued until 2004. In 1981 an additional 3 acres of land on the east and south side of the property was donated by M. Cleverly. This expanded the area for the livestock exhibitions which were very prevalent at the time. Eventually a second ball field was constructed, again with help from the highways grader, volunteer labour to remove trees, brush and level the area. The ball players were very active with their Friday night drop in ball games, the Snowball Tournament in the winter and the Magoo summer tournament, both of which continue today.

Disaster struck at 1:00 p.m. on September 3, 1988 – a fire started. With the old “party line style of phones” the word quickly spread across the community, with everyone rushing to the hall. The Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department came with their 500 gallon water truck, but the hall was too engulfed in flames. The dry wood building quickly went up in flames and was totally destroyed. There were many rumors about the start of the fire, but the cause is still unknown.

Fire 1 (640x466)

Fire 2 (640x463)

A new communmity hall provided an opportunity for an enhanced building, under the guidance of the building committee of Don and Gordon Charlton, Al and Linda Bishop and Gary Cleveland. A final building requirement was developed by the summer of 1989. Kelly Ross was getting married the next summer and the hall was going to be finished! The footings and foundations were constructed in the fall by Jim Cochrane who hired young Spencer Dorian – it was his first job.

Gordie Ross and his crew won the tender to frame the building to lockup status – which was completed  by December 1989. Gordie recounts the day the roof trusses were erected. He had hired a crane truck out of Williams Lake at $120.00 an hour – he wanted all the trusses up in one day. He woke early in the morning to check the temperature and weather conditions; -6°C that was do able; but two hours later the temperature started heading lower, the wind blowing from the north east and snow blowing sideways. Gordie’s crew succeeded with erecting the trusses, with Russell Ross sweeping the 6 inches of snow off the newly laid subfloor – by the end of the work day the temperature settled at -29°C.

The Commission was successful in obtaining a Canada E.I. Works grant for the interior finishing of the hall. It was Stan Matthew’s tenacity that pushed the crew to insulate, drywall, paint and finish the inside. Gerry Atkinson and his brother installed the oak dance floor. Norm Boulanger, a University of Seattle professor in Set and Stage Design, was responsible for the fantastic accoustics in the hall and the lighting scheme. Again many hours of volunteer labour, machinery and donations of material contributed to the  successful completion of the building. The grand opening – two weeks before Kelly’s wedding.

At the time, you identified where you lived by the lake you were near e.g. Fawn Lake, Sheridan Lake, Roe Lake, Deka Lake, Bridge Lake, Lac des Roches. The local Lions Club was the first group to coin the descriptive word of “Interlakes” within their name. “Interlakes” was inclusive of the whole community thereby the executive of the Roe Lake & District Recreation Commission renamed the new hall “Interlakes Community Hall”. It is still a source of confusion to some of the old timers.