By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

Moving forward with the Community Hall Advisory Committee seems like a Catch-22 for some of the user groups involved.

The committee met at the Invermere Municipal Office on Tuesday, September 9th.

Many of the buildings features will be contingent upon fundraising results conducted by different organizations, but District of Invermere councillors wont be able to gauge the success of each fundraising initiative before having to inform the architect of certain specifications.

The performing arts consortium hired Don Parman of Evan-Par Productions for a consultation on their portion of the project. A report was prepared by the firm and presented to the committee by Kathryn Gowling, who represents the performing arts consortium. Ms. Gowling spoke to the reports recommendations for constructing an ideal performing arts venue. Concerns were raised that some features could limit the potential of use for other groups, and also that many of the recommendations will be too costly.

Nothing will be built that cannot be paid for, but whether or not to add features that are funded by special interest groups was discussed.

If they can afford it, do we allow them to build? asked regional district Area F director Wendy Booth.

Invermere mayor Gerry Taft added that it wouldnt be fair if a group were fundraising towards a certain feature, only for those people to find out that council wont approve it.

Frustrated with the committees back-pedalling, councillor Greg Anderson said, Were moving forward, not backwards. The goalposts are there.

Mr. Taft said the performing arts consortium should have consultation with the architect once chosen, but cautioned over the amount of consultation each group can have as he doesnt want the architect to become flooded with input.

On behalf of the Valley Fitness Centre, Helen Breau expressed her gratefulness to be involved in the process despite the uncertainty around the timeline.

The library and the fitness centre are both on the agenda for Phase 2, but to avoid contention, the representatives of the two organizations will be allotted separate fundraising periods. This raised the question by Mr. Taft as to whether both projects will be able to afford construction to begin Phase 2.

How much [does the Valley Fitness Centre need]? Ms. Breau asked.

Mr. Taft estimated around $300 per square foot, but reminded that there are many variables.

The District of Invermere conservatively budgeted $500,000 for the abatement of the old high school, which is the site of the proposed centre, and Chris Prosser, chief administrative officer for the district, said the cost is expected to run between $320,000 and $600,000. The committee will meet again on Tuesday, October 1st from 3 to 5 p.m.

Editors note: In a recent article on the multi-use centre in the August 20th issue, comments made on behalf of the performing arts consortium by Kathryn Gowling were mistakenly attributed to Barb Neraasen.