Gabriola Arts Council using grant money to repair centre’s foundation

NANAIMO – Heritage Legacy Fund money totalling $4,500 going to repair water-damaged beams for Gabriola Island arts centre.

Thanks to $4,500 from the Heritage Legacy Fund, Gabriola Arts Council will have a stronger foundation – literally.

The fund provides money from the B.C. government for heritage conservation.

The council is in the process of raising money for and restoring Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, one of the original schools on Gabriola Island built in 1928, said Michelle Benjamin, executive director.

Legacy fund money will go specifically to repair the building’s foundation, which has suffered water damage, Benjamin said.

“There’s one side of the building where there was some concrete put up against the wooden beams in the foundation and at that spot there’s been some rot in the beams and so we have to actually replace those beams and some of that rot has moved up into the walls.

“We don’t know the extent of that fully yet until we start to tear off some of the siding, but we don’t think it’s extensive actually. We’ve had an inspection,” said Benjamin.

Repair work on shingles on the building’s exterior, especially where there is water leakage, will also be conducted, Benjamin said.

Other work not being financed by the legacy fund includes installation of cisterns as part of a water catchment/potable water system. An administrative office for the arts council, electrical system upgrades as well as cosmetic repairs are also works that have, or will, take place.

“We’re hoping that by this time next year, we’re done, that we’ve done all of the necessary foundation work as well as the cosmetic … and then we’re just in maintenance mode,” said Benjamin.

She estimates that $60,000 has been collected for repairs and renovation through fundraising and grant money.

The council received money during the 2015 cycle and Heritage B.C., the non-profit that administers the money, said $75,000 was awarded to 17 projects that year.