The Revelstoke cadets are appealing to the community for a new home after being told they have to move out of Mount Begbie Elementary by the end of March.
If they’re not successful, the organization could close down.
“Ultimately, if we don’t find a home we’ll have to fold the cadet corp,” said Capt. Kelly Rienks, the commanding officer of the Revelstoke Rocky Mountain Ranger cadets.
The bad news came last week, when the school district told the cadets that the district could no longer afford to safely keep the school open.
“When they were relocated to Mount Begbie it was with an understanding that it would only be as long as we could maintain that building,” Hooker told the Review. “We told them now that on a limited basis they’re able to be in there until the spring.”
The cadets and the Revelstoke Boxing Club have been based out of Mount Begbie Elementary since their previous home in Big Eddy Elementary was demolished two years ago.
Rienks said the cadets have looked at other locations, but they have yet to find anywhere that meets their needs, or that they can afford. He said the cadets need a 10 metre by 10 metre space in which to practice their shooting and do their parades. They also need an office and storage space for their camping gear, uniforms and other equipment.
“The places we’ve looked at are either not interested in renting to us, or way out of our price range,” he said.
The cadets are one of Revelstoke’s oldest organizations, with a history going back more than 100 years to the onset of the First World War. The current iteration has been around for 64 years.
The news comes at a really bad time for the cadets, just as they see their numbers growing for the first time in years. The current corps has 16 members – a far cry from their heyday but up from a low of eight a few years ago.
“We’re on a building trend again now,” said Rienks. “Army cadets across the province, our numbers are down a little bit the last few years. There are some neat programs that are bringing things back around and the numbers are building.”
Rienks said that members will lose lots of opportunities if the cadets close down. One cadet is looking to go mountaineering in Chile and to go parachuting, said Rienks.
“It is one of the elite courses available to army cadets,” he said. “I’d hate to see any risk of them losing that.”
As for the school, the school district has started the process to sell the land, a move that will likely involve demolishing the school. “We’ll go into a public consultation process,” said Hooker. “In the meantime, we need to deal with the building.”