If all goes according to plan, in a few short years there will be a new community centre perched on the hill beside Bowen Island Community School.
One will able to attend a council meeting, work out and take in a show without having to step out into the rain.
After decades of discussion –one of the founding goals of the Bowen Island Arts Council 25 years ago was to build a community arts space – there are now preliminary designs and Bowen Island Municipality is hiring a fundraising assistant for the project.
The current floor plans of the multipurpose building (designs are 60 per cent complete) include not only meeting rooms, municipal offices and council chambers, but a theatre with retractable seating, a fitness studio and a community living room.
“This will meet a lot of those needs that aren’t being met,” said the project’s co-manager, Shauna Jennings of BIM.
“Come together Bowen Island,” is the project motto.
But for the project to happen, project organizers need money. The centre is an estimated $14 million to build.
Some money will come from municipal reserves set aside for a community centre.
Some money will come from what BIM would save in rent. BIM doesn’t own the building that currently houses council chambers and other municipal offices, and it rents space in other locations, including BICS and the Children’s Centre. This costs the municipality approximately $127,000 a year. This money would be redirected toward paying down a loan.
Other money, up to $9.3 million, could come from provincial and federal grants. But to access those grants, the community centre committee needs to demonstrate community support. And that’s where the $1.5 million fundraising target comes in.
“It’s all about the fundraising at this point,” says Jacqueline Massey, executive director for the Bowen Island Arts Council, and the project’s other co-manager.
“The key is the community support, and making a pledge is an excellent way of demonstrating that support,” said Massey in a BIM press release.
Donations and pledges can be made to BIM, BIAC or through the project website ourislandplace.com.
“We’ve been working with the community to make sure it meets the needs of the community,” said Massey in an interview last month.
Addressing one of the more popular local requests, Jennings added, “We would love to have a swimming pool, but these are the amenities that we’ve identified as top priorities for the community.
“This is a modest building that this community can afford.”