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

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Langford homeowner helps West Shore RCMP catch car thief

The homeowner grabbed the suspect until the police arrived moments later

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Tickets available for Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame dinner and induction

Ryan Cochrane, Mike Piechnick and Rob Short among the inductees

Most Read