Kamloops Centre for the Arts put forward business plan, talk sustainability, funding | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops Centre for the Arts put forward business plan, talk sustainability, funding

Rae and Ron Fawcett have been key players in getting the Kamloops Performing Arts Centre up and going.
October 22, 2019 - 5:00 PM

Kamloops is one step closer to potentially getting a $70 million Performing Arts Centre in the downtown core.

The Kamloops Centre for the Arts presented its finished business case to Kamloops city council today and received hesitant but supportive feedback from councillors.

Norman Daley, Chairperson for the Kamloops Centre for the Arts, spoke to councillors and answered questions on fundraising, grants and sustainability. The society have suggested that a maximum of $45 million from the city could be required to create the space, less if fundraising efforts and grant approvals go well.

City staff will now spend two weeks reviewing the business plan put forward by the society and will determine on Nov. 5 whether or not to move forward with the plan, which could include another referendum from Kamloops taxpayers.

Last time this plan was put forward, the idea was shut down by voters. Daley and the Kamloops Centre for the Arts believe this time around will be different, as the price tag for the centre is cheaper and they believe the community has changed perspective.

“That wasn’t the right plan and it wasn’t the right time, but the new plan we have is being worked with through the society,” Daley says. “I believe firmly that it will take care of this community for many years to come.”

Daley highlighted the need for the Performing Arts Centre, as some of the other performance centres in the city are too small or are ageing.

“There is a demonstrated need for this facility as identified in the Kamloops recreation master plan, cultural infrastructure is the number one priority for the community,” Daley says. “The centre will contribute to downtown revitalization. Existing facilities are ageing and are not adequate to meet the demand. We are losing performances.”

Kamloops Centre for the Arts society members and media were invited to an information and question session after the city council.
Kamloops Centre for the Arts society members and media were invited to an information and question session after the city council.

Ron Fawcett, who kickstarted the project by donating approximately $8 million through his purchase of the Telus Annex building downtown, wants to see this project move forward quickly, and hopes to see the centre open in 2023.

“If we have to do it in ten to 15 years, for one thing, I won’t be here probably, and the funding will be different. It will be very, very expensive in 15 years so I believe firmly it has to go to a referendum because the taxpayers have to say that they approve this,” Fawcett says.

The Kamloops Centre for the Arts plans to raise money fundraising through private and corporate donors, and plans to apply for various grants by Nov. 12, when they say is a deadline for many of the federal and provincial grant programs. Daley and Fawcett don't have an estimate as to how much financial assistance they could get from grants. The society has already received more than $4,000 through the sale of their $2 memberships, and Daley hopes to continue selling the memberships to all residents in Kamloops and the surrounding area.

Councillors asked some questions at the city council meeting, and afterwards the media, Kamloops Centre for the Arts members, and the public were invited to an information centre and question period at Creston House.

Councillor Arjun Singh highlighted the need for sustainability in terms of consideration for future operating costs, with a highlight on a higher building cost to save money down the line.

“A big question I have is around the energy efficiency of this building,” Singh says. “I just want to ask if that’s been considered, with the upfront higher costs potentially saving some costs down the road.”

While Daley says sustainability is being considered, Fawcett says it is sometimes too costly to meet the standards for sustainability from a building perspective. Both agreed that the plans for sustainability would be considered more once the city approves the project and plans to move forward.

“Obviously we have well-respected architects and it’s been talked about throughout the program about sustainability, and that's an important aspect of all construction these days,” Daley says. “We are going to ensure the building is what it needs to be and it’s going to meet the needs of sustainability, that is an important aspect.”

Fawcett, who owns and operates many buildings throughout Kamloops, had a different take on how sustainability in construction may be addressed. He says it is often too expensive to receive accreditation such as the globally recognized LEED certification.

“I think every building nowadays takes all of those into consideration, there is this LEED that they call it. We build quite a few buildings personally, the LEED is very, very expensive,” Fawcett says. “We do 95 per cent of the LEED qualification, the last five per cent is too expensive, so whether that will happen or not will be determined down the road too, it’s too early to tell. Generally, LEED is not worth the extra expenses.”

As well as sustainability, the pair touched on the parking situation, noting that an extra level of parking could be available if needed. Daley and Fawcett also noted the benefits of having this performing centre down the line, noting how it could increase livability in the downtown core, and increase tourism. More of the building planning will be figured out once they have approval from the city of Kamloops and the people who pay taxes within it.

For more information on the Kamloops Centre for the Arts and the proposed Performing Arts Centre, you can check out their website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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