Town’s arts and culture plan goes public for community input Oct. 24

Town of Qualicum Beach looking at what is needed to promote arts in the community

The old downtown bus garage (yellow) is part of the town’s arts and culture plan.

The old downtown bus garage (yellow) is part of the town’s arts and culture plan.

Arts and culture in Qualicum Beach is the subject on an ongoing master plan project, which goes in front of the public on Oct. 24.

Councillor Mary Brouilette points out that this is not the final phase of the planning process — only the end of the first step, with plenty more to go.

“This is for public input,” she explained, “Like we did with the official community plan. Then it will be re-worked after the public input.”

The Arts and Culture Master Plan has been in the works for almost a year and Mayor Teunis Westbroek said it’s a snapshot of the town’s existing arts community and cultural resources — such as galleries and museums, to recreation and community events.

It will also look at possible changes within Qualicum Beach itself.

This includes the downtown school bus garage, which has been abandoned by the local school district for newer digs in Errington. The town made a deal to acquire the property and ideas for its redevelopment include a performing arts centre.

“The focus is on all of the town’s assets,” said Westbroek, adding there have been plenty of ideas thrown out there.

Those include the debate over the local high school, which was threatened with closure last year. Using Kwalikum Secondary School’s arts facilities, he continued, could be one way of keeping it open and making it a part of a larger cultural plan for the town.

Brouilette added there is a town standing committee helping out with the plan, which is being co-ordinated by Patricia Huntsman.

“There needs to be a community focus,” Brouilette said, noting that the plan could solve some local issues surrounding the need for more arts and culture resources.

A new arts facility in the downtown core, she continued, could help in that regard.

“Theatre groups always need places to rehearse,” said Westbroek. “This would be a big step in the right direction.”

The public session on the town’s arts and culture plan is Mon., Oct. 24, 7 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.