Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) is thrilled to announce that our application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, submitted January 2019, has been successful. The federal and provincial governments have announced that they are awarding funding of $7.9 M to build our Community Centre.
“This funding support is imperative to this project going forward,” said Mayor Gary Ander. “We are pleased that our senior levels of government have recognized the value of investing in our community. This will enable us to achieve the long-term goal of a dedicated public building for Bowen Islanders.”
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to finally build the Community Centre after 20 years of planning. The construction project is seen as an economic stimulus for Bowen Island, creating jobs in an uncertain economy, bringing traffic to local businesses, and ultimately creating our own facility that will develop community resiliency over the long term. Now more than ever, the value of recreation, arts and culture, and a place to belong is known to create a true sense of community.
The Hearth (formerly Bowen Island Arts Council), long-time advocates for a performance arts and community space, and who have been working with the Municipality on the Community Centre Project, is also pretty excited by the announcement. “This is excellent news for our community,” said Rob Gloor, Hearth Chair. “We are now very close to realizing our dream of a place where the entire community can gather and re-connect in a myriad of ways.”
The Municipality committed to building a community centre just over four years ago. It struck a committee and design team to develop plans and a strategy for development and operations of the much-needed facility. The building, estimated to cost $14.5 M, will provide 12,000 sq. ft. of highly versatile community spaces for recreation, arts and culture, and the community. It will also include 4,000 sq. ft. of municipal offices, where residents can access municipal services, all from one convenient, accessible location. It will be a hive of community activity, welcoming to all.
These funds, along with Municipal reserves and fundraising to date, bring the amount raised for the project to $10.5 M. An additional $4 M is needed before construction can begin. In order to move without delay, the Municipality will be holding a referendum to request approval from the electors to borrow up to $4 M. Borrowing would not occur until the final funds are needed, and fundraising will continue while construction is underway, with the intent of decreasing the amount that would ultimately need to be borrowed.
The Municipality is appreciative of all those who have contributed to the project to date, through pledges and donations, and by offering expertise, guidance and feedback. Now, one leap closer to achieving the goal of building this important public amenity, it will be up to the community to make it happen through a successful referendum.
To find out more information on the project, or to offer your support via a donation or pledge, please visit the Community Centre website: www.ourislandplace.com All donations over $25 are tax deductible.