A quarter-million-dollar grant from the provincial and federal governments will allow for an multi-purpose outdoor stage area at Gabriola Island Community Hall.
In a press release, the Gabriola Island Community Hall Association announced that it has received $254,155 from the Government of Canada and Province of B.C.’s COVID-19 resilience infrastructure atream to build an “outdoor community gathering space.” The project will include an 850-square-foot structure on hall grounds that will serve as a performance stage, a rehearsal and exercise space, an exhibition venue, a covered market and a community gathering space, the press release said. It will be constructed of wood, concrete and metal, with lighting, storage and retractable walls.
In addition, pedestrian and vehicle areas on site will be reconfigured with a parking lot that will accommodate between 50-75 vehicles, with lighting and improved safety and accessibility.
The project is anticipated to cost the full grant amount, said the press release. Laura-Jean Kelly of Topographics, who assisted with the proposal, sees the next six months consisting of pre-construction planning and consultation with First Nations and the community.
“Once the construction documents are ready for tender, I hope many Gabriolan companies will present bids,” Kelly said in the press release.
The hall’s board of directors anticipates work will be complete by August 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided the impetus for the project, said Joyce Babula, community hall president, as a need for an outdoor space emerged.
“This was the rationale for the project,” Babula said in the press release. “We received numerous expressions of support from Gabriolan organizations and individuals which we included in our application. I would like to think that this community support contributed in no small measure to the success of our application.”
An open house is planned for October, when the project will be presented in more detail.