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Bowen Community Centre seeking final funding

About $3.5 million is still needed to fully fund the $18.7 million capital project
Community Centre Sept 15
Construction continues on the Community Centre along Bowen Island Trunk Road, Sept. 15, 2022.

Fundraising efforts are continuing at the Community Centre in order to fully fund the project ahead of next year’s anticipated completion date.

“We are continuing to engage our donors, our pledgers, and the general public for the project, including a number of one-on-one meetings,” said Jacqueline Massey, fundraising coordinator for the Community Centre Select Steering Committee (CCSSC), during the organization’s Sept. 8 meeting.

The committee is still seeking around $2 million in community donations to reach the capital project’s $18.7 million price tag. So far $1.29 million has been raised through this method.

Massey says community outreach efforts are continuing through meetings, newsletters and social media, to draw donations and tell people about the facility. “We are still hearing misconceptions and confusion over details, such as the size of municipal hall and the scope of the project. And we are still receiving questions regarding programming, and in one case specifically what is being planned for the youth demographic. So of course we’re responding directly to these queries,” she says.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have an opportunity to engage with the public as we have at past Bowfest celebrations,” added Massey. “But we are contemplating future outreach activities aimed both at connecting with our donors and supporters, as well as with the general public.”

Shelley Sainsbury, certified fundraising executive on the project, says it’s been “great to hear people’s thoughts, hopes, objections, and such on the Community Centre, because it does help us where there are misconceptions, give them the correct information so that they can make the choices with all of the information.”

“We do indeed want to hear people’s thoughts on this, and we want to make sure that we’re sharing with transparency what’s going on at the Community Centre,” says Sainsbury.

According to the Community Centre website, municipal space will take up 4,000 of the facility’s 12,300 square foot total.

Mayor Gary Ander said he was happy with the group’s outreach and donation efforts, and that it’s time for people to get on board with the new facility.

“I think promoting it and getting some excitement for it in our community will be really advantageous. It’s coming now, you might as well get on the boat,” says Ander.

The Community Centre is also hoping for $1.5 million in further grant funding, on top of the $9.1 million already gathered between the Investing in Canada Infrastructure and COVID Safe Restart grants. At the July 20 CCSSC meeting, the group recommended to council that a grant application be made to the Canadian Heritage Department’s ‘Canadian Cultural Spaces’ program.

Massey says that application is now close to being submitted. “We wanted to wait until the program manager we’d been working with had returned from her summer holidays, which she now has. So while the narrative responses have now gone through many revisions, we feel we’ve built a really strong case for support,” she says.

“We’re still hoping to augment or add to our specialized equipment list to ensure that we capture everything that we possibly can and include it in our ask,” explained Massey. She says the expected grant amount would cover “the purchase and installation of the specialized equipment required for the arts and cultural spaces.”

“So I’m still waiting for some updated quotes to come in, but hopefully we’ll have that info within a few days, and then the grant application will be on its way,” said Massey.

Construction has focused on the foundation and framing so far, with suspended slab concrete pours expected to take place early next month. There will also be more trees removed from the site soon.

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