Narrow win for opera company

Vancouver Island Opera wins Qualicum Beach help with hall rental

Tatiana Vasilieva: times are tough for opera company

Tatiana Vasilieva: times are tough for opera company

There’s a good chance Qualicum Beach residents will be hearing a few high Cs at the Civic Centre in October, thanks to town council agreeing to offer the Vancouver Island Opera a reduced rate for their hall rental.

The move however, didn’t come without a fight and was no sure thing.

In a letter to council, Vancouver Island Opera president Tatiana Vasilieva asked council for a reduced rate for the hall rental on Oct. 26, 27 and 28.

In a letter to council, Vasilieva said the $3,424 rental contract is simply too much to bear.

“With existing audiences, this amount is fiscally impossible for our opera company,” she said. “Due to the economic situation, ticket sales have been declining over the past several years, despite intensive advertising. Our continued viability is seriously in jeopardy.”

Because of this, she asked council to reduce the rental fee to $1,500, plus HST. This is the same rate the group received for the facility rental last year.

In response, Coun. Mary Brouilette urged her colleagues to approve the request.

“Money is pretty tight,” she said, making a motion to offer the same rate as last year, but on a one-time basis. Her motion was seconded by Coun. Scott Tanner.

That didn’t fly with all of council however.

“I think this sets a precedent for other people looking for subsidies when using the facilities of the town,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer. “We ask people to submit their requests for subsidies twice a year and to have someone jump the queue puts all the people who follow the rules and submit their applications in time in a position where there is less money and less space available. I can’t support this jumping of the queue, considering the event is set for the end of the year and in March we will be considering all requests for a subsidy.”

Coun. Dave Willie also said he had concerns about the move.

Brouilette’s motion passed, with Luchtmeijer and Willie voting in opposition.