The Crofton Community Centre Society
Enjoy a Bit of History.
The Crofton Community Centre had its beginning as a Parent Teacher Association formed in January 1948, with Mrs. Nessie Vye as President.
In January 1949, this same group held their first meeting as the Crofton Community Centre Club, with the following people on the executive: President: Mrs. Vye Sr., Vice President: Mrs. Collinson Sr., Secretary: Harold Brown, Treasurer: Mrs. McNulty, and they wanted a building.
The group worked hard fundraising to save the funds to build a hall. Building of the hall began in June 1952. Most materials and labour was donated by founding members and the generosity of the community. The first regular meeting was held in the new hall on October 9, 1952.
Later, the dining area and kitchen were added and a furnace installed. A volunteer catering group started later to help raise funds and provide food for dances, weddings and functions held in the hall. In 1971, with a Centennial Grant of $6,400.00, the Community Centre began construction of a heated out-door swimming pool situated next door to the Community hall. Grants from the Municipality and BCFP assisted with this, but the bulk of the total cost of $15,000 was raised by local residents. The Plans were drawn up by Hank Bepple, who also supervised the entire project. Construction was done mostly by volunteers in the community. To kick off the grand opening of the Pool in 1971 The First Annual Salmon Barbecue was held to coincide with The Centennial Voyageurs Canoe Pageant paddling into the bay and setting up camp on the Crofton ball fields. Our famous Crofton Salmon BBQ ran for more than 25 years attracting visitors from far afield. The Pool was a great success and after its second summer of operation, the pool was proving to be a popular place in the community and youngsters were able to take swimming lessons. Like many projects the CCCS has undertaken the pool was turned over to The Municipality of North Cowichan to run. (The pool is still well used today.)
In July 1972 a new floor was laid in the hall, at a cost of $2,800 and new stage drapes were purchased. The Crofton Community Centre has served as the heart of the community for many years. Dances and social events are held on a Regular basis. As well as having housed youth associations such as scouting and guiding and Teen Town, the Society has sponsored many baseball and sporting teams from the community.
In the late 70’s the CCCS volunteers starting running bingo as a fund raising effort, and employed dozens of community youth for more than 25 years. Funds were raised to undertake many projects in the community of Crofton as well as charity purchases in the Cowichan Valley and greater Vancouver Island. One of our accomplished projects was purchasing land on York Street and building a seniors complex that houses 6 units. We also purchased the adjoining piece of land that our beautiful new Crofton Elementary School now stands on. The CCCS donates thousands of dollars in Bursaries each year to benefit our local youth.
Likely our most treasured jewel is the Crofton Sea Walk that offers a magnificent scenic boardwalk that wraps around the foreshore of Osborne Bay in Crofton. The CCCS tirelessly fundraised with the community to fund phases 1 and 2, then the entire community was thrilled to attend the Grand Opening of Phase 3 of the Sea Walk in March of 2013. The Sea walk has been a tremendously valuable addition to our sea front with locals and tourist’s alike taking in the majestic views daily.
Over the past 60 plus years the Society has been maintained entirely by a dedicated volunteer base. New residents are most welcome and encouraged to join, at $1.00 per person per year. Monthly Membership Meetings are held in the hall, on the second Thursday of each month from September till June. Help us to maintain The Crofton Community Centre Society as a vibrant hub for our community to enjoy for many years to come. We feel a strong community centric society is the heart and voice of a community.
A few Crofton Community Centre Society Projects
The following is a sample of some of the many projects the CCCS has undertaken to enhance the community of Crofton and the lives of its residents as well as our neighboring communities in the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island. We are very proud of our accomplishments and hope to continue well into the future.
The Community Centre Building and thousands of dollars of maintenance / upgrades
Osborne Bay Seniors housing and Acreage
Second Boat Ramp
Boat Ramp Floats + Rebuilds (Labour)
Picnic Tables & Benches at Old School Museum area
Three $1,000.00 Dollar Bursaries for Crofton Students annually
One $2,000 Trades Bursary for Crofton Students annually
Seniors Christmas Dinner held annually (25 + years)
Queen Street Playground, Sun shelter and water park.
Playground area @ Ball Fields
Jaws of Life (2 sets)
Victoria Hospital Burn Unit donations
Old School Museum
Seniors Centre below Old School Museum
Computers, Books, Sports Jerseys for Boys & Girls (Crofton School)
Sponsored Local Sports Teams
25% cost of Public Bathrooms @ Ferry Location ($10,000.00)
Salmon B.B.Q. for 25 years as well as fireworks for many years.
Salmon & Welcome to Crofton signs
Sea-Walk Phase 1 & 2 & 3
Accommodations & Financial Support for info centre (12 years)
No Charge for use of Hall for Scouts, Sparks, Guides, Crofton School and community groups for charitable uses
Brick Planter & Sign for Osborne Bay Seniors Housing
Donations to Cowichan Hospital — $20,000.00 + TV’s
CDH Foundation donation of $5,000 in 2012
Chemainus Health Care Foundation donation, $5,000 in 2012
Regular Donations to Chemainus & Duncan Food Banks
Defibrillator for Fire Department $5,445.00
Second floor renovation of Fire hall addition
Roof Anglican Church
2 Ball Fields
Washrooms at the Ball field
Halloween Costume Contest yearly, fireworks for many years.
Canadian Red Cross Fundraiser
Local Family Benefits
Crofton Family Fun Day
Crofton For Christmas
As well as many more projects.
History of Crofton Seawalk
The objective of The Crofton Sea Walk, a project initially conceived by the Crofton Community Centre Society in the late 80’s, remains to assist the realization of Crofton’s potential as a tourism destination and stop en-route to the Gulf Islands by enhancing its waterfront setting and accessibility. The project was planned to be, and has become, a recreational facility that will serve residents and visitors for the next century. Completion of Phase 3 has provided access from the town centre to hiking trails along the shore line to Smith Bay and to the many scenic hiking trails along the slopes and up Maple Mountain.
The project is a joint venture between the Crofton Community Centre Society and the District of North Cowichan. It has succeeded in enhancing the communities’ ties with the waterfront while taking advantage of the economic opportunities presented by the spectacular outlook, commercial activities and wildlife habitat.
In The Beginning
In 1994 the project committee for the Crofton Community Centre Society (CCCS) discussed the idea with representatives from the District of North Cowichan (DNC), who liked the idea and requested that the society provide them with a proposal. In June 1994 the CCCS submitted a joint venture proposal between the DNC and the CCCS to construct a Seawall consisting of an elevated rip-rap structure at the high water mark between the Old School House Museum and Crofton Beach. In June 9, 1998 the DNC requested a meeting with the CCCS to discuss the project. Contact personnel for the two organizations were defined, and the meeting became the Kick Off for the project.
October 5, 1998 The DNC arranged a field tour of the site with a Marine Geologist Dr. John Harper of Coastal and Ocean Resources Inc. along with representatives from the DNC, DFO, and CCCS. The first recommendation by Dr. Harper was that the project not be referred to as a Seawall and a hard elevated structure would have little chance of being approved because it would upset the regimen of the beach formation and consequently the delicate marine environment. Therefore from that point on it became a Sea Walk and was then defined to have a minimal environmental impact and was to be constructed in three phases.
In late 1999 the project committee was made aware that the project might qualify for a federal grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada under the CEAI (coastal economic adjustment initiative). The purpose of these grants were to support economic development and diversification in communities affected by changes caused the decline in the salmon fishery.
In order to apply for the grant Lanarc Consultants Ltd. of Nanaimo were commissioned to undertake an engineering study, upland owners consent obtained, and a campaign to solicit pledges to assist in costs and show public support was undertaken.
On January 21st, 2000 the project committee was informed that our application had been turned down for the following reasons: The project did not demonstrate that it would result in quantified economic benefits. Secondly the project did not appear to be integral to a regional tourism strategy. Unfortunately the CEAI steering committee, at that time did not have access to a regional tourism strategy report which does recognize the Sea Walk. A copy was forwarded to the committee in hopes that the project might get back on the band wagon.
Two more attempts were made to apply for the federal CEAI assistance, with the third attempt being lucky after reducing the request from the maximum amount of $250,000 to $200,000 in the anticipation that a corporate sponsor was available. On October 1st, 2001 meeting was arranged between the CCCS and NorskeCanada Crofton Division, to discuss the project and NorskeCanada Canada announced that they wished to participate in the project with a donation of $100,000.
On December 12, 2001 Superb Construction Ltd. Of Nanaimo was awarded the contract to build phase I.
On July 13th, 2002 Construction of the first phase of the Sea Walk, was formally completed with a grand opening during Crofton’s Centennial and the CCCS’s 50th year of volunteer service celebration. Construction of this initial phase was made possible by contributions from the Federal Department of Western Economic Diversification through the CEAI, NorskeCanada, and numerous businesses and residents of Crofton and surrounding communities. Access to this phase, was named “NorkseCanada Way” in recognition of the NorskeCanada contribution.
Phase 1 commences with an entrance gazebo and consist of an elevated shoreline boardwalk between the parking lot near the BC Ferry terminal and the RV park. I includes an access stairway to Spinnaker Place, and follows the existing natural boundary with the height responding to storm tides and allows for the natural foreshore to remain uninterrupted. Construction was undertaken mainly by manual labour due to limited access and tidal conditions. The decking is constructed from recycled hydro poles with the nail holes and nailing being done by volunteer labour. Total cost for the phase was $401,000.
Phase 2 of the project was divided into 2 portions. In order to release a maximum of 50% of the required funds from the CCCS’s gaming account it was necessary to demonstrate to the B.C. Gaming Commission that the phase was fully funded. Furthermore the on land construction had to be undertaken during the off tourist season to minimize disruption to the RV Park. The District of North Cowichan had pledged $50,000 over a two year period to this phase of the project and to eliminate a possible two year delay the monies were moved ahead. With the gaming account funds, the contribution from North Cowichan, and donations to that point obtained from private citizens and businesses, Phase 2A became the on-land portion of Phase 2.
On July 12, 2003 the Phase 2A kick off ceremony was held. In September the contract for construction was awarded to Jerry Mattu Excavating Ltd. And construction commenced in October 2003. Phase 2A was completed on October 19th, 2003.
This phase of the project consist of an elevated rip-rap structure at the high water mark. The walk way has a gravel surface and concrete pony wall to separate it from the RV Park. Cost of Phase 2A was $115,000.
Phase 2B connects with Phase 1 and provides additional access to Glenhurst Estates.
The CCCS signed an agreement with the CEAI wherein they will fund 50% of Phase 2B provided the remaining funds could be raised by November 1st, at which time construction had to commence and was required to be completed by March 1st 2005. NorseCanada donated two railcars valued at $5,000 each. Surespan accepted the rail cars with the value deducted from a price quote to build two bridges required for Phase 2B. Surespan also contributed $3,500 in engineering fees. Phase 2B was completed February 6th, 2006 with a final payment from the CEAI. Sufficient funds were available to install additional railing. Cost for Phase 2B was $95,000.
This phase extends the project from an access point below Glenhurst Estates and passes in front of Sea Walk Estates to Crofton Beach at the foot of Berridge Street. It consists of an elevated walkway over the tidal flats for a distance of 210 metres from the south end of phase 2 to the Crofton Public Beach, with construction similar to Phase 1. It provides access and therefore easy walking distance to hiking trails at Osbourne Bay Park and Maple Mountain.
Donations from individuals, small businesses and associations were sufficient to proceed with the planning for Phase 3. Lanarc Consultants Ltd., who designed Phase 1, was asked to provide a preliminary estimate. The estimate was based upon Phase 1 and was considered too low. Harold Engineering, a marine engineering firm, was commissioned to review the estimate, study construction methods, and determine if the methods are acceptable to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
DNC was successful in obtaining a $250,000 grant from the West Coast Community Adjustment Program. This amount along with funds allotted from DNC budgetary provisions and the CCCS was felt to be sufficient to complete Phase III.
West Coast Community Adjustment Grant stipulated that the $250,000 had to be spent by April 1st. It became evident that this deadline would be impossible to achieve due mainly to the new approval requirement that the project had to be subjected to a 1st Nations Consultation process. This involved approvals from 6 individual bands, one as far away as Lake Cowichan. Whether approval negotiations had to be carried out by a single group of the 6 bands or individually was not known. A meeting with 1st Nations was scheduled for Jan 18th. One promising aspect was that once it is presented the 1st Nations have 60 days to respond. Meanwhile North Cowichan proceeded to secure tenure from the affected up land owners. The design proceeded and tenders for construction were received from a variety of contractors who all liked the project. Unfortunately due to the above unforeseen delays the tenders had to be pulled as the construction window could not be met.
North Cowichan went to Community Futures and explained the situation and suggested the grant be spent on construction materials in advance. Fortunately Community Futures agreed and the grant is secured. A new construction window was set for June 1st.
A Construction Start-up meeting for Phase 3 was held at the Crofton Beach Park on May 31st. The contract had been awarded to Warm Valley Contracting who were present along with representatives of from HB Lanarc Golder (the design engineers), Municipality of North Cowichan, Millennia Research, Applied Ecological Solutions, and the CCCS. Items discussed included communication with neighbors and the general public, environmental assessment, archeology, mobilization, site signage and fencing, construction layout, and hours of work. Mobilization began Tuesday June 5th and construction started June 6th with construction starting at the Crofton Beach Park at the south terminus of the walkway to facilitate access. Costs for Phase 3 were $800,000, which consisted of the $250, 00 grant, and $500,000 from DNC and $50,000 from the CCCS.
It was a long time coming, but the dream came true.
Nessie Vye Memorial Bursary
Crofton Catering Group Bursary 1
Crofton Catering Group Bursary 2
Hugo Lebitschnig Memorial Bursary for the Trades (Carpentry, Welding, Hairdressing, etc)