A new bingo hall is being planned for the downtown area at 102nd Avenue Greenway and 101st Street. The building used to be the old Showcase Centre which is down the street from the Farmer’s Market.
The City of Grande Prairie’s focus lately is getting activity in the downtown and Councillor Kevin McLean questioned Grande Bingo Society president Jenifer Spencer about the amount of activity that would be brought to the downtown from this addition. She says that there can be upwards of 75 people playing at their bingo facilities in the afternoon and even more in the evenings. When the facility gets going, it is proposed that the hall will have an opening time of 11:00 am Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Bingo Hall could also be used place for fundraisers for community groups. Spencer says there is usually up to $830 brought in for each group when they use this as a way to collect funds. She explains that profit going to clubs always goes up and down because it is based on the sales. The money is pooled and distributed monthly but they have had a slow start to the year. Right now, they have 19 community groups that utilize the bingo society as a way to get funds. All clubs must be licenced through Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and also be a member of our Grande Bingo Society. Grande Prairie Lions, Trumpeter Lions, GP Elks, Anavets Ladies Auxiliary, Canadian Paraplegic Association, CNIB, Centaurs Rugby, GP Gymkhana, GP Hockey Association, GP Indoor Playground, GP Pirhanas Swim Club, Hoko Sei Kan Judo, Kin Club, Grande Prairie and District SPCA, Wolverines Wheelchair Sports, Canadian parents for French, QEII Ladies Auxiliary and Ecole Noveau Frontier are all registered groups that have utilized the fundraiser.
The society can accommodate up to 30 groups but will open the application process up once again after the move.
Spencer says as much as people have moved onto digital bingo, this bingo hall will use paper. She says this allows youth to work there as well.
They do have to wait for a formal approval after the mandatory 2 week appeal for anyone in opposition to come forward.
Spencer explains that a small renovation and licensing requirements need to be met before a moving date can be put in place. The Grande Bingo Society says they are excited to offer a location in Grande Prairie that has increased accessibility for seniors, is close to busing and the city center.