Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

IMPROVEMENT PENDING – Seen left to right at this morning’s news conference are Joe Mewett, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254; Yukon MP Larry Bagnell; and Yukon veteran Red Grossinger.

Ottawa contributes to new floor for Legion

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254 in Whitehorse will get a brand-new floor this spring thanks to $25,000 from the federal government.

By Sidney Cohen on March 14, 2017

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254 in Whitehorse will get a brand-new floor this spring thanks to $25,000 from the federal government.

Flanked by Legion president Joe Mewett and veteran Red Grossinger in dress uniform, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell announced the funding at the Legion’s Steele Street premises this morning.

“The Legion is instrumental in our community, there’s all sorts of events... there’s so many events that go on, not only for the veterans but for a lot of their friends,” said Bagnell, speaking on behalf of Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

“Of course, Remembrance Day, half the Yukon is packed into this room.”

Money for the new floor comes from the federal New Horizons for Seniors Program.

It funds organizations that support seniors’ involvement in the community, and raise awareness for elder abuse.

New flooring in the main hall and washrooms will reduce the building’s operating costs, said Bagnell.

“The Legion has a limited budget, and they’d like to have as much of their money go towards the service of veterans as possible, as opposed to maintenance of an old floor.”

Over the past year, traffic through the Legion has spiked, said Mewett.

The Legion now provides meeting space to the Yukon Order of Pioneers and the RCMP Veterans Association, he said. It also acts as a venue for private parties and weddings.

“We’re seeing an increase in user groups using this on a regular basis. The floor that we have in here was never designed for such a high volume of use,” said Mewett – and it’s beginning to show.

The floor has been stripped, waxed and repaired numerous times over the last few years, he said.

“We get a cleaner to do it or we get some members to do it,” said Mewett.

“It can run up to $50, $75 an hour to do it, and we’re talking 12 to 16 hours of straight work to get it done.”

The Legion has occupied the building on Steele Street since around 2008.

It was previously on Alexander Street near Third Avenue, and prior to that in a building on Second Avenue at Strickland Street that was later destroyed by fire.

With the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway coming up, in addition to its usual roster of events, the Legion expects a number of visitors, military and civilian, over the summer.

“We’d like to have the Legion presentable and operational by that time,” said Mewett.

The goal is to replace the floor over a three-day period before the end of June.

The Legion isn’t just for veterans, said Grossinger, it’s for the whole Whitehorse community.

“Actually, I will urge other groups that need a home to come right in here,” he said.

“We have room and we can make space available.”

Comments (1)

Up 8 Down 1

jc on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Now if Larry could just get justice for veterans who suffered injuries while on duty doing their military service, that would be great. But, I'm not going to hold my breath. Ryan Leef wasn't much help either.

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