The Princeton Community Band entertained attendees of the grand opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to the performance of O Canada at 11, marking the start of the dedication of the new Town Hall.
Town CAO Rick Zerr gave the welcome and then dignitaries were introduced; Mayor Frank Armitage, Area H director, Brad Hope, School District #58 board chair, Gordon Comeau, councillors Marilyn Harkness and Kim Maynard and Chamber of Commerce president, Brenda Crawford. Special guests to the event were Mayor Manfred Bauer of Keremeos and Councillor Carmeletta Holmes from the Upper Similkameen Indian Band.
Mayor Armitage extended a personal thank you to CAO Rick Zerr for the excellent work he did in order to, “get the job done.” He also commended the efforts of Rick, Shirley, Kevin, Carrie, Carolyn, Jeanie, Kevin and Lyle (town staff) on their efforts to get the new Town Hall ready.
Appreciation was extended for the efforts of the local contractors who completed the work under the guidance of the principal contractor, Mike Grgich. “The work was done timely and to very high standards,” said Mayor Armitage.
George Harry is appreciated for his design of the landscape and the Town crew members for their work to complete the design.
Laska Flooring, Auto Tac, Hayes Creek Electric, Princeton Paint and Sigfried, a personal friend of Rick Zerr, were all noted for their contributions as well.
Director Hope was pleased to be a participant in the celebration, “It is an honour and a privilege to be a part of this historic day,” he said, “my thoughts on this are it wouldn’t matter the cost —you can’t replace history.”
He commended everyone involved in the restoration of the old courthouse. (new Town Hall) “We are one big family, tied together,” (speaking of Princeton and Area H) said the director and with that he presented a historical photo of the town square, circa 1911 to the mayor.
Gordon Comeau spoke of his historical knowledge of the building as he worked there for approximately 28 years. The BC Ranger District # 11 (BC Forest Services) were housed in the old court house along with the governments agent office, police services, gold commissioner and court services which at that time, were manned five days a week. Comeau said he and his wife had been watching the deterioration of the building for years and are quite pleased that the decision to restore the building had been made. “This council needs to be commended for it’s vision,” he said. “What a beautiful building!”
Councillors Harkness and Maynard each expressed their appreciation of the new Town Hall and chamber president, Brenda Crawford offered her congratulations.
After the ribbon cutting, attendees were invited inside to have tour of the new Town Hall and to enjoy cake provided by Jeanie Williams.
Just inside the entrance, residents had the opportunity to appreciate the artwork of the late Bob Cormack. His work will be on display there until the end of June.
The new Town Hall operates on the main floor of the building located at 151 Vermilion Avenue and court services continue in the upper level.
Built in 1929/30 and re-dedicated on June 11, 2014, the historic new Town Hall, as councillor Maynard said, “will serve our community for years to come and we are all proud to be a part of this.”