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Parksville set to host 5 BC Culture Days events starting in September

Council approved a $25.9K grant to MAC to support events
Parksville council approved a sponsorship request by the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville to support local BC Culture Days activities this fall. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville will host five events during BC Culture Days this fall.

After a lengthy debate, council approved a $25,940 grant to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) to support hosting a Ukrainian cultural festival, an art banner treasure hunt, a collaborative art exhibition, the Bedazzled Bra Breast Cancer Awareness Project and a TikTok film festival. The money will come from council’s contingency fund.

“It is recognized that a lively arts and culture scene contributes to the well-being of the community and social framework,” said Coun. Marilyn Wilson, who made a motion to support the MAC’s funding request during council’s July 4 regular meeting. “Arts and culture promote a sense of community identity. The city, in our official community plan (OCP), says we can support local arts and culture and assist with cultural events.”

Hosting five events will designate Parksville as a hub and make it eligible for additional marketing, publicity and media coverage provided by Culture Days National, according to Jennifer Bate, MAC executive director.

BC Culture Days runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 16.

READ MORE: Parksville Beach Festival makes grand return in 2022 after 2-year absence

Council voted against an amendment by Coun. Mark Chandler for council to agree to pay 50 per cent of the invoice. Chandler said he was in favour of hosting the events, but would prefer the MAC contribute to the cost as well.

Coun. Adam Fras favoured Chandler’s amendment and said the MAC’s request is greater than the budget line items for Parksville Beach Festival ($5,000), Canada Day ($10,000) and the Brant Festival ($5,000) combined.

“I’m saddened in some ways,” said Coun. Teresa Patterson. “I really do feel we should have a line item in our budget for arts and culture, as it is. One of our last major projects is the art statue that is on the corner of the highway and McMillan. And that was done many years ago.”

Council moved into a committee of the whole meeting to allow Bate to answer questions.

Bate said the BC Culture Days events are just one aspect of what the MAC does in the community and is the only project it requested council support for this year.

“If we don’t get all of the money, we won’t, unless I get more sponsorship, be able to do all of them,” she said. “So, what do we cut, do we cut the Ukrainian fundraiser and initiatives there? Do we cut out the young people that we want to recognize through the TikTok film festival? Do we not do a bedazzled bra event?”

Bate added the community can be hesitant about funding new and unfamiliar initiatives, but said funding would become easier in the future if Parksville hosts five events and is designated a BC Culture Days hub. She added the request is a one-time ask.

Wilson’s motion was carried with Fras, Chandler and Coun. Al Greir opposed.

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