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Parksville arts centre directors all resign
The entire board of directors at the McMillan Arts Centre have decided to resign after a lively and emotional meeting Monday night.
"The building has been completely revamped, there are professional accounting systems in place, there's money in the bank and we went to the membership and they didn't like the direction we wanted to go in, and they voiced their opinion quite strongly and so this board will be stepping aside," said Chris Raines, now-former president of the Oceanside Community Arts Council (OCAC), which owns the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC.)
Since May of this year, four of the board members have resigned and following the Monday night meeting, the five remaining gave their resignations, effective yesterday.
Dave Klinger, a member of the OCAC and former vice president of the board, said a special resolution by the membership was seeking the termination of Raines as president and many spoke to that at the Monday night meeting. Klinger said Raines and the current board were too focused on the financial situation at the MAC and in the process lost a lot of "friends" in terms of volunteers and members. He said the board was considering selling the building and laid off the office administrator, but the membership isn't interested in focusing on finances.
"This is never going to be easy to manage, we are artists we are not business people," Klinger said. "We can get enough money to get by and that's about all we're ever going to do, but that's not a bad thing, that keeps us going."
“We run on friendship and passion, we don’t run on money.”
Raines said when he and the board took over five months ago they looked at the financial situation and went about steps to improve it. He worked 50 hours a week on or at the building, he said. He thinks the membership has a hard time defining what they want and now time will tell what will happen.
“I suspect it will be the same-old same-old, in a nicer building,” he said.
Parksville city council’s liaison to the OCAC, Marc Lefebvre, was at the meeting Monday night and described the scene as lively and somewhat emotional as discussions took place about lack of board members, volunteers and the long-term financial situation.
Lefebvre said on Tuesday the (now former) board has done a great job in terms of the renovations, but they were struggling to separate the MAC and the building’s finances from the OCAC in its role to promote the arts. Currently, there is only enough to cover the operating costs but there needs to be some form of secure long-term revenue for operations and maintanence, he said.
“Somehow you’ve got to sit back and say ‘OK, what do we want, where do we want it, when do we want and it and how much is that going to cost?’ And once you figure who much it costs, how do (they) pay for it?”said Lefebvre.
The OCAC is the only arts council in B.C. that owns its own building, he said, and if the OCAC wants to keep it, they need to figure out their finances.
Klinger said he lived in Calgary for 40 years and never found a place like the MAC, and he’s not keen on getting rid of the building.
“We are lucky we have our own building. If we didn’t, everyone would be working on their own,” he said.
Since Monday night the MAC community has now rallied beautifully, he said, and he’s inspired by those who love the building and what it does for Parksville and everyone involved.
A meeting will take place on Monday, November 4 at 1 p.m. at the MAC to form an interim steering/nomination committee. Members and those interesting in joining the OCAC are invited to attend.