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Chinese League Struggles to Pay for Repairs


LETHBRIDGE: The head of Lethbridge's Chinese National League says the historic building is in trouble. The structure was banned from use after a storm damaged it last February, and now the league director Richard Loo tells Country 95 News repairs are on hold until his group can find the roughly half-million dollars needed for the job.

"In the good old days, we had hundreds of people in town who used and cared about the building," says Loo. "Now, those days are gone. Just 20 members are left in the league."

Loo has good memories of the building. When he first moved to Lethbridge in 1953, he rented a room there for just $7 a month. He says the Chinese National League was the place for immigrants to gather and help each other adapt to their new country. Very few of those men were able to bring their wives or families over. So this building is where they spent most of their time. In 1995, the Alberta government designated the property a historical resource.

"The building has a really important association with the Chinese community in Lethbridge. It was really a cultural and social centre," says government spokesperson Fraser Shaw. Loo's group can apply for a provincial matching grant that could share the cost of repairs, but they need to come up with the other half on their own first. Both city and provincial officials say first priority is stabilizing the building so it can survive the winter months. They've put scaffolding up using insurance money and hope this will buy enough time for other stakeholders to come forward and maybe even buy the building to save it.

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 4/18/2014 8:37:18 AM
Source: Marion Warnica, Country 95 News - photo by Country 95 News: damage to the building in February 2011
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