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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

World’s biggest Nanaimo bar confirmed, but it’s not in Nanaimo

Two Ontario children set the bar high with successful biggest Nanaimo bar world record attempt

City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

Report recommends high-density residential development, identifies shortage of industrial land

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP report missing 19-year-old has been located safe and sound

Haley Murphy had not been seen since Tuesday, June 30, say police

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district considers COVID-19 lessons in planning for fall

Elementary, secondary school committees formed to plan for next school year

Infringing festival finds a way to dance during pandemic

Crimson Coast Dance Society holding drive-in, micro and physically distanced events July 10-19

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Sexologist likens face mask debate to condom debate: What can we learn from it?

Society’s approach to condom usage since the 1980s can be applied to face masks today, one expert says

Langford teens reunited with family after rescue near Chemainus

Friends spent night in missing truck, spotted by RCMP helicopter

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Restaurant to be converted into housing for people experiencing homelessness

BC Housing buys popular Campbell River eatery for $985,000 to serve as bridge housing

Most Read