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New Kamloops arts group targets 2023 for performing arts centre opening

The new concept is moving forward thanks to the newly formed society
(via CHP Architects)

Supporters of the new performing arts centre (PAC) have coalesced into the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society in a bid to organize the concept into a viable proposal.

The group, mostly made up of 12 members from arts organizations and other community groups or stakeholders, is taking the lead on the project, from making a business case for the PAC to fundraising to reaching out to the community. They'll operate separately from local government as an independent not-for-profit society.

Brenda Aynsley, one of the leaders of the group, says the organization has six priorities to focus on right now: creating a new business plan, develop a communications strategy, enlist community support, work with different levels of government, provide input on the PAC's design and fundraising.

Updating and modifying the business plan from the failed 2015 proposal will be central to winning over public support she says.

"The devil is in the details and we're not there yet," she says. "We will be going back and reexamining the business case and building upon that."

Currently, the new plan has some modifications already, including a lower price tag, different design and more land. Currently, the estimated total cost of the project would be around $70.1 million. How that gets paid for is part of the new society's central mission.

The new PAC proposal was brought forward in January to city council by a group led by local businessman and philanthropist Ron Fawcett and his wife Rae who are making significant donations in a bid to help push the project forward. The pair and the newly formed society returned to council chambers yesterday, June 18, to give an update on the concept.

"We continue to be dedicated to supporting this project," Fawcett told council. "This financial support is very much our personal endeavour."

He added that they understand the financial issues people take with the project.

"As major taxpayers in this city ourselves, we understand the seriousness and complexities of the process."

Aynsley is hopeful people will see the new PAC concept is different from the old one and therefore, be more open to it.

During the new group's presentation to council an ideal timeline was presented, with construction starting in spring 2021 and the first production on stage in the spring of 2023.

"That's if everything goes well," Fawcett told council. "It's going to be a struggle for our arts community those four years."


Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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