City council is hoping that federal infrastructure funding can accelerate Port Theatre expansion. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Council endorses federal infrastructure request for Port Theatre expansion

Nanaimo city councillors unanimous in choosing project from three options

City council is hoping that federal infrastructure funding can accelerate Port Theatre expansion.

Nanaimo city councillors, at their meeting Monday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, unanimously chose to endorse the project from three options presented by staff as a January deadline approaches to apply to the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

A Port Theatre community performing arts centre has been planned for years and would consist of a 50-240-seat performance space and two rehearsal spaces. The project budget is $21.2 million. Other options staff suggested to council for infrastructure funding requests were a Harewoood Centennial Park youth park, a $780,000 project; or a new Maffeo Sutton Park playground, with two phases totalling $1 million. According to a staff report, senior levels of government will provide a maximum of 73.3 per cent of total project funding.

Bruce Halliday, general manager of the Port Theatre, urged councillors to take advantage of what he said was a rare opportunity to access federal funding and create short-term and long-term jobs in the city.

“This project matches up with the criteria for this funding very well, showing clear social and economic impact and increased accessibility for the entire community,” Halliday said. “It is as shovel-ready as is possible.”

Coun. Ian Thorpe said whereas Harewood Centennial Park has received a few improvements in recent years, Port Theatre expansion has been on the to-do list for many years.

“I think it’s a very, very worthwhile project to help revitalize our downtown, to stimulate the economy of our city even more and I think we’ll have a lot of spinoff benefits,” he said.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong agreed, suggesting the Port Theatre expansion, more so than the other two options, is something for residents of all ages.

Coun. Don Bonner was also in support, but wondered if the city had a contingency plan in case the federal government offered some money, but less than expected.

“If they were to offer us less than the full requirement, they would come back to us to see if they could work out a funding arrangement with us,” said Wendy Fulla, the city’s manager of business asset and financial planning.

Coun. Zeni Maartman said she supported seeking funding for Port Theatre expansion, though she expressed reservations that by asking for more money, the city might be reducing its chances of receiving that money.

The city will endorse a funding request through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s community, culture and recreation stream for a Port Theatre community performing arts centre. The application deadline is Jan. 23.

“I’ll make a prediction: We’ll hear about this before the October election,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Festival parade ‘jazzes’ up downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo International Jazz Festival closes with Laila Biali Trio Sunday

Fire official deems morning fire at Nanaimo school suspicious

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes fire at portable at École Océane

Nanaimo hotel tax set to go up

Hospitality association lays out five-year plan for tourism in Nanaimo

Tour de Rock ready to start making its way down Vancouver Island

Tour de Rock takes place Sept. 21 to Oct. 4

Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

Organizers call for treatment centres, accountability for crimes, citizens’ task force

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Nanaimo high school students cut class to attend climate action rally

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo rally raises awareness, demands action against climate change

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo athletes earn gold, silver, bronze at 55-Plus B.C. Games

Huge contingent of local participants competed in largest-ever 55-Plus B.C. Games in Kelowna

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read