On Aug. 31, the Loyalist Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Shelburne will close its doors.
The decision, made several weeks ago, was confirmed and approved by the Legion’s provincial command this week.
Branch president Fred Molyneaux said the decision was a difficult one, but one that had to be made due to increasing costs to operate the organization’s large building on Water Street.
“We can’t afford to keep it,” said Molyneaux.
The Shelburne branch is among many across Canada to experience financial stress. Decreasing numbers across the country have led to many branches disbanding and others having to move to smaller buildings.
Many say the legion doesn’t attract younger members, including ex-servicemen and women.
In a release, the Shelburne branch blamed the closure on a continued decrease in membership combined with increased costs to maintain and insure their large, aging building.
Despite the decision to close the building, Molyneaux says the Shelburne branch will keep its charter and will continue to meet, albeit somewhere else.
“We will maintain our charter,” he said.
Molyneaux has been a legion member since 1966 and he says that in the over the 70 years of its existence the local branch has been an important part of the community.
They will now try to give back any remaining artifacts and written material that had been donated to branch by soldiers’ families over the years.
Anything left over will be offered to the local museums or genealogical society.
Molyneaux says the building will be put up for sale, something he doesn’t expect to happen quickly. The building was acquired by the Legion in 1946 and had been used as a hostel by the Salvation Army during the Second World War.
Proceeds from the sale of the building and its contents will be used to pay off any outstanding accounts. Any remaining balance will be equally distributed between the Black Loyalist Society Museum for storage and display of Legion items and the Town of Shelburne in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the Cenotaph. The balance in the Poppy Trust Fund will go to the Provincial Command Bursary Fund.
A board of trustees has been appointed to supervise the orderly disposition of assets.
Events at the building including bingos, dances and auctions will continue until the end of August.