In 2017 the Bowen Island Community Foundation sponsored its second Vital Conversations event to understand the community’s needs and priorities. These insights guide the foundation’s work for community granting. Amongst the priorities identified was the creation of “gathering places for all” – in particular, successful completion of the long desired and much needed Bowen Island Community Hall and Arts Centre. (See the full Vital Conversations report at bowenfoundation.com/vital-conversations/.)
Now, we have an incredible opportunity to secure up to 73 per cent of the eligible capital costs of the proposed community centre, $7.3 million, from the federal and provincial government sponsored Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Bowen’s planned community centre project is perfectly aligned with the objectives of this federal-provincial program. But here’s the challenge: the deadline for submission is January 23. Bowen’s submission would be greatly enhanced by substantial community engagement, demonstrated through testimonial letters of support and philanthropic commitments to fund the $4 million that must be raised in the community in addition to the anticipated 73 per cent government funding, $2 million supported by the municipality in tax-neutral borrowing and $1.2 million in municipal reserves to fully fund the $14.5 million project.
There is good reason for optimism that the $4 million can be raised through the amazing generosity of Bowen Islanders. Already your Bowen Island Community Foundation has received a major legacy gift valued at approximately $1 million and an additional $1 million pledge from an anonymous donor. The municipality has been working hard to secure financial support and is making progress.
To have the greatest prospect of successfully competing for the federal-provincial grant funding, action is needed now. Please send your letters of support and your pledges for the Bowen Island Community Centre before January 21. Pledges can be made through the Bowen Island Community Foundation (bowenfoundation.com) or through the municipality (ourislandplace.com/pledge).
Let’s all step forward to realize our long sought vision for a gathering place for all! Working together, we can do it!
-David Podmore, O.B.C., Chair, Bowen Island Community Foundation