Sooke Community Association is a finalist for a $15,000 Fortis Community Giving grant

Where will the money go if Sooke wins? For a much-needed natural gas furnace for Sooke Community Hall.

It could be toasty warm in the Sooke Community Hall this winter.

The Sooke Community Association is a finalist for a $15,000 Fortis Community Giving grant.

Where will the money go if Sooke wins? For a much-needed natural gas furnace.

Earlier this year, Fortis invited more than 900 elected officials from the Island, Lower Mainland and B.C. Interior to nominate an organization in their community for a grant.

Sooke Coun. Rick Kasper nominated the local community association.

“I have a keen interest in the community association. They very rarely ask for anything and rely heavily on volunteers,” he said.

The community association rents the hall to more than a dozen different community groups at reduced rates, and some do not pay at all, depending on need.

The hall is in dire need of a furnace. Three areas of the basement have different heat set up from electric heat to electric mounted heaters, while the food bank has no heat whatsoever.

Fortis will judge about 50 projects from across the province – about 15 from the Island alone, said Carmen Driechel, the company’s community and aboriginal relations manager.

“I’m very impressed with the application that we received across the province, and selfishly, I feel really proud to be an Islander. The programs happening here on the Island are really outstanding,” she said.

She was particularly thrilled with the Sooke application.

“Living locally I think Sooke is a great community. I had no idea all of those groups were functioning out of that community hall. I think of the hall as the fall fair which is awesome, but there are a ton of volunteers doing a ton of volunteer activities that feed, clothe and support this community,” Driechel said.

Last week, a film crew from Fortis was in Sooke to videotape the activities of the community association’s work to be shown to provincial politicians at their annual convention in Victoria this fall.