Kinistino celebrates opening of multi-use community centre

Construction on the new Kinistino Community Centre began in September 2021, shortly after the former mayor died, who spearheaded the project. -- Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

Kinistino residents no longer have to resort to neighbouring communities to host large events, such as graduations, weddings or funerals.

A new multi-faceted community hub allows them to host those events, while opening the door to new opportunities.

The Town of Kinistino held a grand opening and fundraiser for the new centre, located at 506 Main Street, on Saturday. It houses the town office, a commercial kitchen, a main hall with a stage and another hall primarily for use by the legion.

“It’s definitely going to bring community back to Kinistino,” said Mayor Mark Powalinsky.

“We’ve lost a lot of festivities and celebrations to neighbouring communities because they do have the facilities.”

Powalinsky said grad banquets, for example, were previously held in Melfort or Weldon. The town used the old legion hall to host events, but the community needed “something that was more modern and fully equipped.”

Construction began in September 2021, carrying through a harsh winter and supply chain issues that arose from the pandemic.

“It’s just like everyone is coming together,” said Gladys Court, chair of the fundraising committee.

“I’m just so happy that people who have lived here before have come to join us, and new people.”

The grand opening was part of a larger fundraising event called ‘Let’s all go to Kinistino.’ The day included entertainment by Donny Parenteau, Carmen Robertson and Ed Sinclair, kids activities, a silent auction and a supper and cabaret.

The federal government provided about $2,300,000 in funding for the community centre. The province also funded nearly $2,000,000. The town is covering the rest through donations and fundraising events.

The event included a flag raising to mark the opening of the Kinistino Community Centre. — Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

Delbert Kirsch, MLA for the Batoche constituency, spoke at the grand opening.

“Wow, you’ve got something here. This is not just a building for today, this is a building for your future. Everything we must build for the future,” he said.

“My hats off to the town council and the mayor and the many people who stepped forward to take on the challenge of this huge project for a town of this size.”

Court said the community centre also provides the town with the ability to bring in new ideas.

“I would like to see maybe some cooking classes here through (Saskatchewan Polytechnic) or Cumberland College, to offer that to not just this community, but the wider community, and use this facility because it’s a red seal kitchen.”

A news release says the facility also has the potential to house amenities such as a medical clinic.

Former mayor Leonard Margolis ‘here in spirit’

Former mayor Leonard Margolis didn’t live to see the grand opening of the community centre – a project he kickstarted and envisioned.

He was Kinistino’s mayor for 39 years. Margolis fell ill shortly after the last election, according to Powalinsky, and died in February 2021.

“If you drive around our community and look at our sidewalks, our streets and the infrastructure, it’s amazing the work that he did over the years. Definitely big shoes to fill, tough act to follow,” he said.

Margolis was not challenged in the previous election. He also served on council for several years before becoming mayor.

Powalinsky, who was on council at the time, was acclaimed mayor that same winter that Margolis died.

“It’s an honour, really,” said Powalinsky about celebrating the grand opening.

“Our council chambers are named after Len and at every opportunity I had to speak on this construction project, I definitely brought his name up because he was such a spearhead of it.”

For Court, the feelings are somber. She felt Margolis in every corner of the building.

“I’m so happy that his vision came to be. I just wish he could be here with us to share it. I know he is in spirit,” she said.

“I feel like I’m doing this for him.”

(From left to right) Kinistino Deputy Mayor Gina Klamot, Batoche MLA Delbert Kirsch, Kinistino Mayor Mark Powalinksy and chair of the fundraising committee Gladys Court. — Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald