By Trevor Busch
Town council has approved up to $10,000 for a business study to augment a grant application for the proposed performing arts centre.
According to administration, MNP LLP’s Performing Arts Centre Business Study will support current and future grant applications, as well as provide an indication of the viability of a Performing Arts Centre in Taber. Completion of the study would also allow the PACC to move forward with a viability and feasibility study, as well as prepare them for current and future grants.
“They seem to have a good handle on what might be the revenue streams, the cost streams, how many people needed to run it, sales, management, the whole nine yards,” said CAO Greg Birch, speaking at council’s Sept. 12 regular meeting.
At their Jan. 25 regular meeting, council had resolved to accept the donation of approximately $29,000 from the Arts Council of Taber for the Performing Arts (ACTPA), to be used for future arts-related projects. Current members of the PACC contacted Ray Sheen, former ACTPA president, who indicated his approval that some of those funds be allocated toward the Performing Arts Centre Business Study.
“This might be a hard business plan to put together, because all they can present to us is what their projected costs might be,” said Coun. Jack Brewin. “They don’t know who is going to come, and perform, or the audiences. I can see the need for it, but to spend $10,000 on it, I’d prefer to see that go into the theatre itself, but I can understand why we need to know where we want to go.”
The performing arts centre project is expected to cost approximately $7 million to construct a 300-plus seat theatre downtown attached to the northeast corner of the Community Centre Auditorium. Benefits to this site, according to PACC, include adding an attractive anchor to the downtown core, augmenting the proposed Gateway Project, keeping operations and maintenance centralized for the town, and the availability of parking on-site and in the adjacent downtown core.
The recommended design is a multi-use arts facility and conference centre featuring a theatre for plays, lectures and presentations, the existing auditorium for banquets, large gatherings and display areas, break out rooms for conference groups and performing teams, and the large and small ice for conference display space.
“These studies are done all the time for businesses,” said Coun. Joe Strojwas. “These people have a good idea of how to go about the process. It’s a good avenue to go, and gives stability to the grant application, and some credence to it.”
The Performing Arts Centre project has been addressed in the town’s Strategic Plan as an “answer to the notable lack of cultural spaces in Taber”. According to administration, under council’s direction the PACC has completed extensive research into what type of facility is needed for the community, and is “confident it can fundraise a great deal of the anticipated project cost”.
Town council voted unanimously to authorize the Performing Arts Centre Committee (PACC) to proceed with MNP LLP’s Performing Arts Centre Business Study, and (notwithstanding Res. No. 43/2016) agrees to fund the study to a maximum of $10,000, with the funds to be allocated from the 2016 donation of ACTPA, with the remainder of ACTPA’s donation being reserved for use previously decided on, pursuant to Res. No. 43/2016.