BVCU’s Nathan Way presenting the cheque to the Lakes District Film Appreciation Society. (L-R) Sharon Marr, Kai Epkens, John Illes, Chelsey Fields, Nathan Way and Amber Allan. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

BVCU’s Nathan Way presenting the cheque to the Lakes District Film Appreciation Society. (L-R) Sharon Marr, Kai Epkens, John Illes, Chelsey Fields, Nathan Way and Amber Allan. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake’s Beacon Theatre wins BVCU’s $20,000 legacy grant

The Lakes Film Appreciation Society (LDFAS) won Bulkley Valley Credit Union’s (BVCU) legacy grant in the Lakes District representation area.

“We are super excited about the grant. The money will go to the replacement of the Beacon Theatre roof. We are very close to raising all the funds we require now,” said John Illes, a volunteer with LDFAS.

Earlier in May, BVCU had announced that they would be donating a total of $80,000 with $20,000 going to each of the regions of their branches in Lakes District, Smithers, Hazelton and Houston. Community members were able to vote for their favourite project or finalist through the month of June. There were over 7000 responses to the online voting showcasing a remarkable community engagement.

The Lakes District branch has three finalists. The Burns Lake Public Library, The Lakes District Film Appreciation Society and the Rotary Club of Burns Lake have been shortlisted for their legacy project proposals.

The Lakes Film Appreciation Society was one of the finalists for the BVCU legacy grant funding and through community voting, they secured the win of $20,000 for the Lakes District area. The funding will go towards the society’s Beacon Theatre Raise the Roof project. In Smithers, the Cycle 16 Society won the grant while in Hazelton, the Hazelton Cross Country Ski Society was announced winner. In the Houston District representative area, the Houston Search and Rescue (SAR) won the $20,000 legacy grant.

In a Facebook post, the society thanked the BVCU and the community for their grant funding win and said that they still have some ways to go in terms of fundraising for the Beacon Theatre upgrades. While the theatre has a large chunk of the funding in place already, a total of $150,000 of the $225,000 for the roof project, the legacy grant funding will put the theatre society in a place to complete the project with some additional borrowing and the continued operation of the theatre would then be possible. With the BVCU grant, the theatre has roughly $123,000 left to reach their total goal of $787,000 for all the theatre’s upgrades.

In June, the theatre started working on the roof replacement project while the facade replacement project is expected to start soon.

The primary reason for the society’s fierce fundraising efforts is that without all the necessary upgrades for the roof, the walls and the facade, the Beacon Theatre could potentially face permanent closure.

“Work is progressing on schedule with reopening planned at the beginning of August,” said Iles.

READ MORE: Bulkley Valley Credit Union announces finalists for legacy project donation