Push is on to start building a performing arts centre in Kamloops by spring 2021 - InfoNews

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Push is on to start building a performing arts centre in Kamloops by spring 2021

Rae Fawcett and Ron Fawcett sit together at Kamloops city council on Jan. 8, 2019.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
June 18, 2019 - 5:18 PM

KAMLOOPS - It was standing room only in the gallery at Kamloops city council chambers this afternoon as local philanthopist Ron Fawcett officially introduced the members of the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society.

Fawcett says it was a personal decision to undertake the financial piloting of the Performing Arts Centre project. He and his wife purchased the Telus Annex building downtown to kick off the project, something he has done for himself and his family.

“This financial support is very much our personal endeavour, not my company Kelson Group. It’s Rae and I, and I think that’s important and it will increase the urgency for us to get this started now,” he says.

Fawcett let it be known he understands the difficulty of council’s decisions around the development of the Performing Arts Centre.

“As major taxpayers in the city ourselves, we understand the seriousness and complexity of your decisions,” he says.

He says the project would take nearly four years before the first performance could hit the stage, and that would be under the best case scenario. Construction could start in spring of 2021 at the earliest, with about two years to get the building up, doors open and curtains raised.

“I’m turning 80 this fall. It is very important to me to be there on opening night. So if this is going to happen, we need to take that step.”

Fawcett says the wait to open the centre will affect the arts community in Kamloops, and he is eager to get people on the stage. He believes this will be a huge boost to tourism in the city, shifting the focus from the sports-centric vibe to also celebrate the artistic talents within the city.

“We have a chance to reposition Kamloops in a very impressive, positive manner,” he says. “It is important that our guests have impressive memories of the cities they visit, and this centre will do that.”

The Arts Society has released a six step plan with which they plan to execute actions to get the ball rolling on the project.

Firstly, developing a new business case for the centre is underway and will be presented to council later this summer. This step will highlight economic impacts, the cost of the centre and the costs of operations.

Secondly, the Arts Society will develop a communications strategy in order to educate the public about the project, the process to get there and progress being made. This step will look at potential use of the centre, and communicate the impacts on cultural and other sectors of the community.

Third, the plan recognizes the importance of actively enlisting community support. This will focus on building a database of community involvement and organizing the sale of memberships. With other community organizations in mind they will build a fundraising plan to benefit many different city projects and groups.

Next, the society plans to work with other levels of government. They will create information packages to assist with discussions between the city, community and other levels of government.

The society will continue to provide input into the design of the project, ensuring the community’s needs and suggestions are heard. Much work has already been done, but more input and fine tuning still needs to be considered.

Lastly, the society will execute a fundraising plan. The society will work with other community organizations to enhance the fundraising capabilities of both parties. The society recognizes that continuous fundraising will be a major goal for the society.

Each of the projects will have a committee responsible for the proper execution of each plan.

The society is comprised of community members with varying skill sets and experience, which will highlight many unique sectors of the community and benefit the society in different ways. Tyson Andrykew, Brenda Aynsley, Barbara Berger, Dennis Clare, Fiona Chan, Margaret Chrumka, Alisa Coquet, Paul Dagg, Kathy Humphreys, James MacDonald, Marilyn McLean and Daniela O’Fee are just some of the members of the society so far.

— This story was updated at 7:06 p.m. June 18 to clarify the headline.

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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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