Local artist Jim Dodd’s rendering of what a potential $30-million arts facility, including a performance hall, rehearsal space, green rooms, gift shop and art gallery could potentially look like on the West Shore. (Photo courtesy of Jim Dodd)

West Shore group chipping away at plans for arts centre

Juan de Fuca Arts Centre Society hopes to identify site for centre

Plans to build a home for the arts on the West Shore are slowly but surely underway as a local group works to establish an arts facility.

The Juan de Fuca Performing Arts Centre Society has been working on plans to build an arts facility in the West Shore over the past few years and is making small strides, according to the group’s president, Judith Cullington.

“It’s still on our Christmas wish list,” Cullington said. “It takes a long time, we’ve been through various stages.”

Cullington said the group is continuing to have conversations with West Shore municipalities about building the arts centre, and said the City of Colwood has also identified establishing an arts facility in its strategic plan.

The centre would have a performance hall, rehearsal space, gallery and educational spaces so both professional and amateur community members could make use of it.

READ MORE: New arts facility on the West Shore taking shape

Cullington said she believes that while it may not make a big profit, the facility needs to be largely self-supporting rather than being heavily dependent on municipal tax dollars.

Finding key partners and fundraising are a big part of establishing and maintaining the centre, Cullington said.

The Juan de Fuca Performing Arts Centre Society became a charity about three years ago in order to begin fundraising, collecting donations and to become eligible for funding opportunities.

“Our main goals are fundraising and making sure it’s a realistic business model that can be largely self-supporting,” Cullington said.

The society started a petition in the summer as a way to show municipalities that a centre like this is what community members want, and Cullington said many people have expressed that there is a need for an arts centre in the West Shore.

“We have some brilliant sports and recreational facilities in the West Shore,” Cullington said. “We need to match that with brilliant arts and cultural facilities and opportunities.”

READ MORE: Spotlight on the Arts: Where (and how) would it be built?

The next step for the society is to find a two-acre site where the facility can be built. In May, the society had chosen four potential locations in Colwood and Langford, one of which is no longer an option according to Cullington. She said they need to find a site in order to kick fundraising into high gear.

“Then we can start to design a place that’s going to work with everybody’s needs,” Cullington said.

The benefit to having a facility like this in the West Shore, according to Cullington, is proximity to many community members.

“[People are] saying they want access to these services without having to go downtown,” Cullington said. “Often you come home from work and you don’t feel like hauling yourself all the way downtown.”

Cullington said facilities like this typically take 15 to 20 years to be established and that they are currently at the 12-year mark since planning began.

“We’re right on track,” Cullington said. “We’re starting to hear interest from municipalities, they understand this is something that would be a real benefit for the community and as a whole, we’re seeing a groundswell from the public for this.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Economic inequality, immigration still need work in Victoria: Prosperity index

Housing, environmental health factors show improvements in 2019: report

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Long weekend starts with series of crashes

The long weekend traffic pile up is starting with a series of… Continue reading

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read