Submitted by Justin Atterbury
Councillor DOI/Chair CV Fundraising Committee
We had some great news a couple of weeks ago when District of Invermere (DOI) council awarded the contract to build the new Columbia Valley Community Centre to Rendeck and Assoc. This project has taken over 20 years to get to this point and I believe this is cause for celebration.
After the announcement there seems to be some confusion as to what the costing includes and what is still being fundraised. There also seems to be confusion as to what the meaning of building shell is and why the library isnt outfitted like the rest of the building. As chairperson of the Fundraising Committee for the new centre, please allow me to provide some clarity.
A project of this scale in a community of this size can be a major drain to the taxpayer if no fundraising efforts are made. Our goal at the DOI was not to exceed the $100 parcel tax in Invermere that allowed us to borrow $5.6 million to help fund this facility. Based on costs estimates four years ago, we knew $5.6 million along with some financial aid from our regional partners would get us close to our goal of building the facility we believed would serve the needs of this valley for decades to come.
We now know that the building will cost $8.55 million, including the construction contract of $7.45 million, architectural costs of $900,000 and project management costs of $200,000. This will be funded by $5.6 million from DOI, $625,000 from RDEK, $500,000 from CBT and a UCBM grant of $2 million. This total funding of $8.725 million will leave a small surplus of $175,000 for contingencies and startup.
The cost to outfit the library was not included in our tender budget. The Invermere Public Library currently has $189,000 in its savings account for the construction of a new facility. When the opportunity arose to move to the new facility, the Library Board decided to use the funds they had saved up to do the leasehold improvements instead of going to referendum to raise more money through more taxation to build a separate facility of their own.
Since the shell of the library is being built and the cost estimates to outfit the inside of the library are approximately $147,000, the library is in a strong financial position to complete the space.
That being said, if the library is able to take in more donations from passionate library goers, then the library will be able to invest in more shelving, nicer furnishings and more inventory of books, etc. All of these things will add to a greater library experience. The Invermere Public Library is currently running a Buy a Shelf, Buy a Chair campaign. Details can be found at http://newinvermerelibrary.ca.
For the four years we have been working on this project, the Columbia Valley Advisory Committee has been consistent in saying we know we can afford the construction of the building (or shell) through our parcel tax and funds from our regional partners. What goes in that shell is up to the user groups that are requesting the items.
The whole building will have the interior finished with lights and speakers, etc. To increase the user experience of this facility, there are requests to purchase items to make the hall more functional. Our goal is not to put this burden directly on to the taxpayer, but rather to raise the money through fundraising efforts with opportunities for private donors and corporations to step forward as well as support from the user groups to help us reach our goals.
The largest request comes from the Arts Consortium via our architects theatre consultant to add additional lighting/sound features and AV (audio/video) equipment for live performance with a large dropdown screen for movie showings, etc. All of the infrastructure to plug these items in will be in place when construction is completed and the cost of this infrastructure is included in the price of the building.
When the money is raised, these items can be purchased, plugged in and played as soon as they arrive. The additional lighting, sound, screen and A/V equipment comes to approximately $400,000. These items will enhance performances in our new facility, but keep in mind that if we are unable to raise the funds to purchase them, the space is still fully functional for performances. Its similar to having a home theatre system attached to your living room TV. Your TV is fully functional without it, but if you can afford it, a home theatre system can add to the experience immensely if you have the funds to make the purchase.
Another big ticket item not included in the construction price is retractable seating for 228 people. This is another extremely useful item that will improve viewing, save space and make the Main Room truly multi-purpose. The price tag is approximately $350,000.
It would be a great addition and hopefully we can raise the money through our fundraising efforts by the time the building is complete to purchase it. To help offset the cost of the seating, we are selling seat sponsorships at $1,000 each. This will enable your family name or business to be attached to any seat you purchase a true lasting legacy. The third major item is the commercial kitchen, which can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 depending on the type of equipment we purchase a great way to attract conventions and large events, which will help our region reach its goal of being a vibrant year-round community.
The fourth major item is the movable divider in the Main Room at $120,000. This will allow for the Main Room to be divided into two parts so that different groups can have functions going on at the same time. So far, we have $30,000 in funds for this item and we have interest from some local service clubs in helping us raise the rest.
Sixty-seven years ago, a large group of volunteers raised the money and volunteered their time to erect our existing Lake Windermere Memorial Hall to honour those in the valley who lost their life in the war. At a budget of $7,000, they completed the project in two years at a final cost of $11,000. (cost overruns even then). They built a lasting legacy in our community that lasted nearly seven decades and served the social needs of thousands upon thousands of valley residents. Weddings, funerals, birthday parties, the list is endless.
I can only hope that we all strive to honour the legacy handed down by these volunteers and put our best effort into supporting the construction of this new amazing facility.
Our new centre may not be physically built by volunteers, but the opportunity for us to contribute and add our own personal hand is needed as much now as it was 67 years ago. If there are items you are passionate about helping fund, donations can be made directly to the District of Invermere or on our website at www.columbiavalleycentre.ca. (Any donations made through the DOI will receive a tax receipt.)