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'Every Village Needs a Kitchen' — Proctor tackles restoration of Village Bakery

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
May 8th, 2019

The Village of Proctor is not taking this challenge sitting down.

Faced with the dilemma of not having a meeting place after the Village Bakery closed in the fall of 2018 — a space to many that is considered the heart of this scenic community located north of Nelson on the south shore of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake — residents have taken up the challenge of rebuilding its bakery/café.

Lisa Norris, vice president of Procter Community Society (PCS) said with a population of 800, a project this large might seem like a daunting task. But when the local population was presented with the facts, there was no hesitation — “Let’s do it,” said Norris.

Since 1938, the Procter Community Society (PCS) has pulled together to create a village that is unique in the West Kootenays. While other small towns are centered around major roads that connect them to the cities of Nelson, Castlegar, Trail and Nakusp, Procter is a little bit out of the way and just a touch more remote.

At the core of the community is The Village Bakery. For at least two decades, the café, tucked into the old schoolhouse, has served as the town’s meeting place, eating place, discussion forum and social heartbeat.  

“In order to re-open we need to do upgrades and buy new equipment,” Norris explained, adding upgrades include electrical, plumbing, installing an accessible front door and bathroom – and so much more.

In fact, PCS estimates it will cost between $75,000 – $100,000 to renovate the Village Bakery.

So, the community needs a little assistance to complete the project.

The fundraising began, and in short order, the community raised almost $5,000.

Other contributions came from skilled tradespeople with offers of hands-on work.  

Among the society’s strategies are a T-shirt logo contest, a dance and silent auction on May 25th, sales of a puzzle taken from an original sketch of Procter executed by the late local artist, George Reid and a GoFundMe campaign "Every Village Needs a Kitchen", has just been launched.  

Today, the bakery is gutted. Work is in progress. But a lot of work still needs to be done. 

Norris calls the entire project a “Labour of love.”

“The community really has a say in what they’d like to see happen,” Norris adds.

“We do regular community updates and the community has been involved in a really significant way and I think that’s important for everyone. The volunteer aspect has been massive. This community spirit goes back in history. It’s natural for people here to come together when they believe in something.”

The vision for the “new” Procter Village Bakery isn’t a grand one – it’s one that captures the heart of a small community. Norris said she imagines a place full of warmth that celebrates the community’s roots while it creates fresh memories.

Work crews gut the the old bakery oven. — Submitted photo

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