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$75K required to assess the need for more arts facilities in Richmond

City councillor suggests council contingency funds to be used.
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Richmond Public library and Cultural Centre. Kirsten Clarke photo

The City of Richmond plans to spend $75,000 assessing what arts facilities are needed in the city.

The Richmond Arts Facility Needs Assessment will help determine future needs and opportunities for expanding the number and type of purpose-built arts spaces in Richmond.

The cost is being proposed as part of the 2024 budget process, according to a city staff report.

However, city councillors Chak Au and Bill McNulty questioned why it would take so long for an assessment to be done.

“The facilities assessment is long overdue and we need to do this ASAP,” Au said at Tuesday’s parks, recreation and cultural services committee meeting.

McNulty suggested using money from the council contingency funds and “repaying it later.”

Staff advised councillors that $75,000 from the council contingency could be used only if city council passes a motion to do so.

Several art organizations, including the Richmond Arts Coalition, Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra (RDYO) and Richmond Community Concert Band, have voiced a need for more art-based facilities.

“There is an increasing need in this community for different types of arts facilities that accommodate a range of different arts,” said Jane Fernyhough, chairperson of Richmond Arts Coalition.

“The Richmond Arts Coalition is here to offer any support we can to ensure that this is done in a timely manner.”

Of the groups, the community band and the RDYO have been displaced from their rehearsal spaces due to the closure of Brighouse United Church.

The band has since found a new location at the Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franco and the RDYO has found temporary space at St. Alban’s Church and the performance hall at Richmond Cultural Centre.

The City of Richmond currently owns and operates two art spaces: Gateway Theatre and the Richmond Cultural Centre, which includes the Richmond Arts Centre, Art Gallery and Performance Hall. A new arts building is coming online soon - the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex, formerly the seniors centre, which is currently undergoing renovations.

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