The South Cariboo Agri-Culture Enterprise Centre Society vacated the facilities at 98 Cecil Place on May 30.
The action came after the District of 100 Mile House issued a termination of lease to the Ag Society on March 9 after it was decided that 98 Cecil Place would be used as office facilities for engineers and contractors who would be building the new water treatment plant.
The Ag Centre Society has moved its operations to the upper floor offices of the Agriplex adjacent to the 100 Mile Curling Centre Club.
While the Ag Centre Society members were upset as they moved equipment out of their former office space, society president Rod Hennecker says the Ag Centre Society will continue it’s effort.
“We still feel this was an unnecessary action by the District but we shall carry on.”
The Ag Centre Society at first rebuked the termination of lease, stating the society was a creation of the District as result of a feasibility study in 2009.
The society also claimed the Agri-Culture Complex was included in the South Cariboo Recreation referendum held in 2013, and it should be protected under the referendum.
Asked whether the society was in fact a creation of the District, Mayor Mitch Campsall declined to comment.
However, he says the complex was not included in the referendum.
The referendum, which was organized by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) in September 2013, asked citizens if they were in favour of increasing the annual requisition for recreational services, including arts and culture services.
After the referendum was passed, the CRD released further information stating Martin Exeter Hall was the only facility from the Lodge complex included in the referendum.
The Ag Centre Society attempted further means of compromise with the District, but, ultimately, the District refused and the society vacated the facility.
“It’s an obvious partnership for us,” Ag Society Centre member Rita Giesbrecht says about moving to the Agriplex.
“We have the same aims, same goals and they had space that wasn’t being utilized, so we are thankful to have it.”
Giesbrecht is adamant the society will not stop its efforts despite the relocation.
“We can’t go into stasis. Our operations will continue uninterrupted.”
The District has stated the Ag Centre Society can return to 98 Cecil Place once the water treatment plant is completed.
Hennecker says the society is open to the idea, but there will still be challenges along the way.
“We have some time to decide. We want to use the facilities, but as to whether we would return to the them is something that remains to be seen.”
Hennecker adds the Ag Centre Society still wants to assume management responsibilities of the entire Lodge complex in the future.
This was stated in the society’s recent Valley Room Kitchen and Floor Plan proposal. In the plan, the society would rent out the Valley Room to provide food security, education, and services.
“We still want to work a deal with the District,” says Hennecker. “But terms and conditions are yet to be determined.”
The Ag Centre Society plans to be fully operational again at the Agriplex by June 5.
Read related story on page A5.