By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Gunnar Mortenson would have been proud. The grand opening of the new Lake View Credit Union (LVCU) building was held on Saturday morning, complete with a ribbon cutting, balloons, and a tour of the building.
Covering 16,000 feet over three floors, it’s a far cry from the humble beginnings in 1943. That was when Mortenson, long acknowledged as the driving force behind the Lake View Credit in its early days, would walk into town every Saturday and open the office upstairs in the old Co-op building. The desk of the long-time manager was a board across some orange crates and his materials consisted of a ledger and a cash box.
Mortenson’s dedication was on the mind of LVCU president Dale Bumstead when he delivered a speech.
“I cannot imagine what vision Mr. Mortenson had of this institution or what he hoped it would be 55 years later,” Bumstead said. “It is with what I believe is the same commitment and dedication that subsequent staff, managers, board members and members have had to get us to this bend in the road Mr. Mortenson started 55 years ago. We’ve had a tremendous amount of commitment over the years from some very special people.”
Bumstead also read out a card sent by charter member Elizabeth [Betty] Golata, now living in the Kootenays.
“You’ve come a long way baby, and it’s gratifying that our hopes have been so fulfilled,” she said, adding that her fellow charter members would have been proud of the accomplishments made over the years.
“The early years was a mixture of worry, work, and fun. We enjoyed our association and our cause, plus the service we were able to give to our small struggling community, but never did we visualize that in half-a-century, we would move from our tiny cubby hole in the upstairs of the Co-op to the impressive structure I saw in the photograph sent to me.
“My association with the Lake View Credit Union is one of the things in my life of which I am most proud and still today, I and my family are still credit union members.”
Joe Corsby, whose MLA father of the same name cut the ribbon when the previous home of the LVCU was opened in 1954, did the honours on Saturday. He also took the opportunity to talk about the contributions that credit unions have made in general. “Even the people who don’t belong to credit unions I think benefit from the strong market presence that credit unions have in British Columbia,” he said. “I think that the credit unions force the banks and the other financial institutions to provide better services and products to the people who utilize banks.”
Mayor Blair Lekstrom, also present Saturday morning, said the building was testimony to the LVCU’s presence in the community.
Once the ribbon was cut, the building was opened for the public to tour. Slightly less than 500 people signed the guest book, but general manager Mike Finch figured that nearly 1,000 filed through.
“It’s the members’ building and we had a lot of members coming through,” he said.