Fernie Legion President Jeannie Watson says the local branch is keeping its head above water, but hopes they can open up sooner rather than later. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie Legion President Jeannie Watson says the local branch is keeping its head above water, but hopes they can open up sooner rather than later. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie Legion does it tough through health orders

Branch 36 is closed until at least May 25

The ongoing COVID-19 public health orders are putting a huge amount of pressure on the Fernie Legion, with the local branch headed into the red by $4,300 in the last two months.

“That’ll be really hard to recoup,” said Branch 36 president Jeannie Watson, who explained that the Fernie Legion had been ordered to close when the new orders came in as they didn’t serve food.

The various orders over the last 15 months have taken a toll on what the Fernie Legion would normally do – from fundraising for community causes to keeping the lights on in their own building.

Various fundraisers and events run by the Fernie Legion to raise funds are on ice, while the money raised by being open to serve drinks which would go to expenses is also cut off.

“The only benefit we have is we outright own the building. If we had to pay rent for the space we’d be done,” said Watson.

Branch 36 in Fernie is closed at least until May 25, when the current provincial health orders lapse, but Watson said they wouldn’t know if they could open again until Dr. Bonnie Henry said so – meaning they could be waiting all the way until the end of the orders.

According to the Royal Canadian Legion, there are 21 branches across Canada that have close permanently or are closing as a result of the pandemic.

For Fernie, Watson said that while the local branch itself could keep its head above water for the time being, the loss in funds raised through events was deep.

“We lost about $8,000 on the poppy campaign because we couldn’t put out poppy trays,” she said.

The poppy campaign, together with the meat trays and 50-50 raffles raise funds for good causes locally – causes that the Fernie Legion hasn’t been able to back with the same vigor as years past – though it has been donating money through the year anyway.

READ MORE: Fernie Legion digs deep for local causes

The Royal Canadian Legion is not eligible for many supports being offered by the provincial and federal governments as they are a not-for-profit organisation, meaning local branches don’t have access to the same supports many other groups have. There are grant funds coming through however, with the Fernie Legion’s share of federal emergency funds earmarked for repairs to the front of the building. In total, some $14 million has been allocated for the Royal Canadian Legion by Veterans Affairs Canada, dividing between the 1,380 branches in the organization.

Until the local branch can open again, it is a waiting game, and Watson said they had their fingers crossed they’d be permitted to safely open sooner rather than later.

Besides welcoming donations direction from the community, the branch will be selling gift certificates in coming weeks to help with their operations, and as always, when things do open up again, drop in.

“When we’re open, come in and enjoy your beverage.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Royal Canadian Legion

Just Posted

Soccer games returned to Max Turyk in Fernie this May and June, after a year-long break due to COVID. (Contributed by Yori Jamin)
Fernie kids get stuck into soccer

Youth soccer games returned to Max Turyk for May and June after a year-long break

A small scale example of how big the maximus dinosaur is compared to Sparwood's Titan truck. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)
Sparwood goes digging for fossils (maybe)

The district is exploring options that could see it acquire a giant dinosaur skeleton

Pride and Transgender flags wave on the lawn of Fernie's City Hall. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Fernie Pride launches inclusivity survey

The survey will help identify gaps in supports for the LGBTQ2+ community in the Elk Valley

The freshly re-painted rainbow crossings in Fernie in 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Rainbow crossings come to Fernie

Volunteers painted the crossings at 3rd Ave and 5th Street in Fernie in pride colours

Coal Creek and forested land near Fernie, B.C. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Elk Valley Regional Land Trust inks deal with Community Foundation of Kootenay Rockies

Donations to the trusts project to secure forested land in the Elk Valley can now be made through the CFKR

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Most Read