On Friday, Jan. 14, the Town of Kinistino officially celebrated the early stages of construction of their new Community Centre, a more than $5.8 million project funded in part by the federal and provincial governments.
Former Kinistino Mayor Leonard Margolis, who passed away in February 2021, launched the planning for the project in 2019. The vision he had incorporated a unique structure that was accessible to everyone and fully equipped.
Current Kinistino Mayor Mark Powalinsky thought the official celebration was a great tribute to Margolis’s vision.
“It means a lot really in his memory and it means a lot to the community,” Powalinsky said. “The community, I think, was overdue for a facility and this largely was Leonard’s vision. This (announcement) sees his vision coming into fruition.”
Margolis served on council in some fashion for nearly seven decades before his passing. He first was elected as a councillor in 1965 where he served until 1967. Margolis was re-elected in 1974 and had been there ever since, first as a councillor until 1981 and then as mayor in 1982 until his passing.
He explained that during his speech he noted the original Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Kinistino had become dilapidated and would be replaced by the new Community Centre.
“The building will replace the Legion on the site that the Legion sat on and it will serve the community, it will contain a rental hall with a stage,” he said. “It will have a room for the Legion and a place for the Royal Canadian Legion members to house their memorabilia. It will also house the Town Office, the two main rooms will be also a multi-use room so we can serve different amenities and needs that arise.”
Powalinsky said that the building would become a new landmark on Main Street in Kinistino.
“We have seen a lot of our graduation ceremonies, weddings and whatnot travel down the road because we didn’t have a facility that could house those (events),” he explained. “It is going to allow us to host those festivities, those gatherings, create those memories, create a sense of community and further the identity of what Kinistino is all about.”
He explained that the Kerry Vickar Centre in Melfort, which was hosting events like Kinistino graduations in recent years, was a fine facility but just wasn’t in Kinistino.
Powalinsky said that the event came together as an idea after discussions with officials in Regina. They stated that when a sod turning happens the results are not immediately noticeable because all work happens below ground.
“We were thinking of having a construction launch ceremony and the election happened and that put things off for a little while there,” he said. “Really one thing led to another but the lovely thing about this event today was you can see the structure taking shape in the background and you are standing in front of it.”
Renderings of the project are available on the town website. Seeing the project coming to life is significant.
“It’s quite exciting for those of us that have been in the planning stages from the get go,” he said. “It is just a huge topic of conversation and interest for the community.”
The event also saw Margolis’ son and former councillor Kurt Margolis act as emcee for the event, which pleased Powalinsky.
Construction on the project began in September 2021. Work on the project includes foundation and partial framing to date. The centre will include the town office, a commercial kitchen, a main hall with a performance stage and another room that can be used by members of the Royal Canadian Legion. Either room may be used for various purposes such as weddings, meetings, and day programs, along with the potential to house a medical clinic or other amenities.
The entire project is expected to be completed by September 2022.
Under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, the Government of Canada is funding up to $2,336,000 toward Kinistino’s Community Centre project and the Government of Saskatchewan is funding up to $1,946,472. The Town is responsible for funding the remainder of the $5.8 million project and any additional costs.
“Investments in community infrastructure help improve the health and well-being of Canadians and strengthen the fabric of our towns and cities. Once complete, the new community centre in Kinistino will replace the original building and offer residents with a place to hold community events, participate in day programs, and access numerous key services,” Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities said in a release.
Also present for the ceremony was MLA for Batoche Delbert Kirsch councillor Steven Jack, Deputy Mayor Gina Klamot, architect Andrew Wallace and Kinistino Legion member Ron Bacon.
“Our architect showed up today and he needed to do a field visit anyway but it was just so very nice to have him there to be part of this very small gathering,” Powalinsky said.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to support this important infrastructure project, which will provide a brand-new Community Centre for the Town of Kinistino once completed,” Kirsch said appearing on behalf of the Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Government Relations.
“It will serve as a place for everyone to gather, including families and friends and in turn will strengthen the community and province.”
Powalinsky thanked the other levels of government for their assistance.
“I have to acknowledge the funding from the Federal and Provincial governments which really helped to make the vision a reality,” Powalinsky said.