Oxford Lions Club, at mercy of sinkhole, faces uncertain future
The Lions Club in Oxford is on edge -- in more ways than one.
It's perched on the side of the ever expanding sinkhole in the town, and the members are worried about what happens if it falls in.
Bruce Selkirk has been a lion for over 20 years. He helped build this hall in 1993, when it first opened.
“My wife said ‘take your bed with you,’ because I was here eight hours a day, six days a week, up until we opened in June," Selkirk said.
Since the sinkhole took over the Lions Club property this summer, the hall was forced to shut down.
That meant cancelling major fundraising events such as weddings, receptions, birthday parties -- you name it.
The only fundraiser left for the Lions is their weekly bingo nights -- broadcast from the hall to participants playing at home.
“Everything we were making we were putting back into the community,” Selkirk said. “Into the arena, skate park, tennis courts; that’s not gonna happen anymore because we just don’t have the funds.”
Lester Wah is also a Lions Club member.
He says the sinkhole has raised many questions, but most important is where does the Lions Club go from here?
“How are we going to fundraise?” Wah said. “It doesn't feel as good to fundraise for the Lions as it does to fundraise for your community.”
Rachel Jones, Oxford’s Chief Administrative Officer, remains hopeful.
“I really hope that the community rallies behind them,” she said. “We, as the town, will do what we can to support and help them move forward.”
And the community has shown support. A Go Fund Me page was set up online with a goal of $50,000 to maintain the hall. So far, just under $3,000 has been raised.
It’s a gesture that has humbled the hearts of the Lions, but there’s no denying the sadness they feel.
“My heart sinks every time I drive past it and see it,” Wah said.
And the biggest loss of all?
“The kids ... no playground,” said an emotional Selkirk. “That's sad.”
The Oxford Area Lions Club has been around since 1959 and members say they can't bear the thought of not coming back to a hall that's been like a second home to them.
“I'd like things to go back to normal,” Selkirk said. “That seems to be a long way off.”
So, for now, the club is in a holding pattern and unsure of what their next move may be without a roof over the heads.
Members say they won't be functioning as a community club until next year at the earliest.
For now, they're at the mercy of the sinkhole and the uncertainty of what lies beneath.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.