With news recently that the Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Duncan is on the verge of closure, Lake Cowichan’s version continues to have better fortunes.
Wilma Rowbottom, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 210 says all is well at Lake Cowichan’s legion and the branch has made a profit for the past three years.
“We are doing very well,” said Rowbottom. “We have paid all our bills for this year, we have money in the bank and we are getting new members all the time.”
Due to declining membership, amongst other things, the Cowichan Legion in Duncan is set to close this month.
That branch, number 53, cannot currently pay the rent on its Duncan building, a problem Rowbottom’s branch doesn’t have.
“We own our building so we don’t have a mortgage,” she said. “Our biggest expenses each year are taxes and wages.
“Our membership is just under 300 and it keeps increasing all the time which is very good. We’ve just passed a bylaw that new members can now vote as well, even if they’ve just joined, so that’s good.”
Last year, the Lake Cowichan legion gave out $23, 301 to the community including through sports and high school bursaries.
Getting volunteers is never a problem either.
“The only time we have a problem getting volunteers is when we need people to sell poppies for Remembrance Day,” said Rowbottom. “Normally we have too many. We recently renovated our lounge and had lots of people come out to help with the painting and carpentry work.”
Rowbottom is saddened by the demise of the Cowichan Legion.
“I’m very sad about it,” she said. “They gave out lots of money to the army and air cadets, the pipe band and they’ll all be missing out on those funds now. They gave out lots of money to the community every year. They always put on a fantastic Remembrance Day ceremony as well so it’ll be a real shame to see it go.
Rowbottom thinks legions must continue to attract younger members.
“People tend to think the legion is just an old fogies club. We have a lot of members in the 40, 50 and 60 age range and that does help. We always put on events that will keep them here.”