It appears the only way Quesnel is going to get a new performing arts theatre is if the Provincial or Federal Government pays for most, if not all of it.
The issue was raised at Tuesday night’s North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee meeting and most, if not all of Quesnel City Council and Cariboo Regional District Directors, felt that a referendum asking taxpayers to pay for it, would not be successful.
Mayor Bob Simpson…
“A survey was done in 2014 looking at four different amenities that are needed in the community….an arena, a replacement arena because the multi-centre had died at that point, a renovation and upgrade to the rec centre, a gymnastics facility and a theatre. At that time gymnastics was in the Maple Drive School and wasn’t in the same extreme circumstance that they are just now, but only the rec centre project and the arena project, gave any indication on a statistically valid survey that it would pass a referendum. The theatre was at about 20 percent of the people said they would vote in favour and gymnastics at the time was almost in the single digits. So we have some intelligence from a survey result that the performing arts centre wouldn’t pass that test.”
Simpson says there is still some work to do however, to even get to the stage of asking for government funding.
He says they’re asking staff to take the feasibility study that they have and describe how they turn it into a meaningful business case for a stand alone theatre….
” How we would get to the description of that theatre at a level that would allow us to understand what it is we want to build, how much that’s going to cost, so that if a grant application opens up we actually have a practical realistic, business case proven theatre complex that we could then submit for grant funding.”
Simpson says they need to be ready because it can take six months to a year to get to that stage.
He says the report will also look at the venues that they already have…
“There is a desire to understand all of the venues that we currently do have and what improvements could be made to those different venues, and see what improvements are needed to increase their capacity to host different performing arts events in the meantime.”
A stand alone 450-seat theatre, according to the feasibility study, would cost in the neighbourhood of 10 to 19 million dollars.