TRU Wilderness Centre (pages 53-54)
Despite predictions of the new Wilderness Centre being completed in 2015, very little has happened at the site since then. The building has been redesigned several times and, as of 2019, it is expected to be modular construction. In 2018, several influential donors to TRU began to question the long delay. In February 2019, TRU finally issued a tender for bids and, as of posting this, negotiations are underway with one of the bidders. The actual site of the new building is about 100 metres south of the old schoolhouse on the same side of the road (east side).
You will notice that the schoolhouse looks completely different from the photo on page 54. The building has been fully renovated and modernized, making it even more suitable for TRU classes. The project was spearheaded by a group of enthusiastic Upper Clearwater volunteers who succeeded in raising over $20,000 for materials and labour. More improvements are planned as money is donated to the society. In addition to the TRU activity, the school hosts many social events among local residents.
Just 600 metres south of the schoolhouse is the Community Hall, owned and operated by the Upper Clearwater Farmers’ Institute since the 1940s (see full story pages 51-53). It is partly supported by a government grant of $5,000 annually. Starting in 2014, some local residents felt they were no longer welcome at events in the hall and split away. They started to use the facilities at the TRU schoolhouse, eventually forming a separate society and fund-raising for the renovations described above. In 2016, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (the local government authority) held a vote on whether to continue the annual grant which was funded by property taxes charged to every land owner in the Valley, no matter whether they used the hall or the schoolhouse. The vote passed by a margin of one to continue the taxation and the grant to the hall. By 2018, tensions were easing between the two groups. The end result has been positive since there are now two beautiful facilities in the Clearwater Valley where meetings, weddings, lectures, and social events can be held.