Delhi Belgian Club

1948 – 2017

Offer made for Belgian Hall

Belgian Club contents on sale in on-line auction

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

DELHI, ON - This is shaping up to be a month of critical transitions for the former Belgian Hall in Delhi.

The Delhi Belgian Club has accepted a conditional offer for the property and will close the deal if the unnamed purchaser is satisfied they can put the sprawling property to the new use they have in mind.

“They are in a period of due diligence to investigate possible new usages,” Marc Vandenbussche, the outgoing president of the Belgian Club, said Thursday.

Meanwhile, contents of the hall accumulated since its inception in 1948 are on the block by way of an online auction at .

Lot previews were held Tuesday and Wednesday while bidding got underway Wednesday morning. The auction ends 8 p.m. May 3.

Everything must go. Items available range from deep fryers and banquet tables to autographed albums and photographs of legendary musicians who performed in Delhi. Examples include Chubby Checker and Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart of the Canadian rock band Rush.

Packing up a lifetime of memories and sending them down the road has been tough for Vandenbussche and other dedicated members of the Belgian community.

“It can bring a tear to the eye of a big guy,” Vandenbussche said. “It’s heavy. But it’s the right thing to do.”

Vandenbussche said the auction will help ensure none of the hall’s creditors are left in the lurch once the club’s affairs are tidied up.

The Belgian Club executive made the painful decision to sell the 30,000-square-foot property last October when the hall’s expenses began to exceed its income.

The executive consulted the club’s 1,200 members before deciding on a sale. The executive had been frustrated in recent years with its members’ unwillingness or inability to keep their dues up to date.

Skyrocketing electricity rates were also a factor. A large property like the Belgian Hall uses a lot of hydro. A sign posted outside the hall in December said the club’s hydro bill in 2016 totalled $49,559.

The same sign took a shot at Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Wynne has presided over the near tripling of the province’s electrical rates since taking over from Dalton McGuinty four years ago. The Belgian Hall sign closed with a simple lament, one saying “You Wynne, we lose.”

The initial asking price for the 1.78-acre parcel was $899,000. Vandenbussche said the offer on the table came after the club lowered its price.