Neepawa could be at risk of losing one of its star attractions.
After seeing its board continue to dwindle over the years, the Margaret Laurence Home is putting a call out for new board members.
The board that was once six or seven people strong now sits at three members, one of which may be moving away from town before next summer, meaning the Margaret Laurence Home could be left with only two board members by early 2014.
And, as board member Blair Chapman explains, that may not be enough people to keep the Home open.
“If it gets down to two of us, there is a real possibility we may not be running,” Chapman explained. “We need more people to help with the work that needs to be done.”
The board is also in need of what Chapman is calling “fresh blood” - new people with new ideas that can reinvigorate the concept of the Home.
While the Home not-so-long ago regularly attracted over 2,000 people a summer through its doors, attendance has been declining steadily in recent years. What the board hopes to do now is to somewhat ‘reinvent’ what the Home is, and rethink how the space can be better-used by the community and as an attraction.
“Right now, we don’t know what that looks like,” Chapman explained. “We need that fresh blood, those new ideas, because one of the things we have to look at is what does the future of the Margaret Laurence Home look like, because I think it looks a lot different.
“We have to figure out how to make the house a living part of Neepawa, a facility that gets used.”
Whether it be hosting teas, concerts, meetings or ideas completely outside of the proverbial box, the current board members are eager to have new people come on board to help them figure that out.
Anyone interested in joining is welcome to call Blair at 476-2359, Joyce Kingdon at 476-5622 or Susan Chartrand at 476-2434.
And while the future of the Home is uncertain, the importance of history behind it - and one of Canada’s storied writers - is undeniable, the board believes.
Laurence won two Governor General’s Awards for her works and there are still multiple lectures and speaking engagements held annually in her honour.
Her writings continue to circulate in classrooms, universities and homes, while her novel reference to the Stone Angel at Riverside Cemetery has been an enormous asset to tourism in the area.
“It gets Neepawa’s name out there,” Chapman said of Laurence’s works. “The people who do still come to the Home, they are enthusiastic. There is definitely still that spin-off where people come to Neepawa to see the Margaret Laurence Home, and then spend money at other places in town.”
The Home is open from the May long weekend until the Labour Day weekend, with tours available upon request during the winter months.