Comox council approves cultural centre proposal in principle

Comox council has approved in principle a request from the Pearl Ellis Gallery and the Archives and Museum Society to use a vacant space on the top floor at 1729 Comox Ave., subject to further information about hours of operation, leasehold improvements and building code issues.

Coun. Ken Grant was the lone member of council to oppose the decision, which drew a round of applause from about 50 supporters who attended Wednesday's meeting. Couns. Russ Arnott and Tom Grant were absent.

The two organizations operate downstairs at 1729 Comox Ave., out of view of pedestrians. Gallery and museum proponents hope to turn the top floor space into a cultural centre. The town provides the museum with storage space upstairs and an annual operating grant of $25,000. The gallery pays the town one dollar a year for its space downstairs.

Until December, the vacant space once occupied by the library was leased at $22,000 a year, which the town will lose if the gallery and museum move upstairs.

Town staff will report back with further information at the March 30 committee of the whole meeting.

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The Town of Comox will provide $12,500 to the Sid Williams Theatre Society in 2011. The group had requested $20,000, which comprises less than three per cent of what it costs to operate the Sid.

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The following funding requests will be forwarded to the regional district: Project Watershed Society ($1,500 to achieve historic site status for the Courtenay River estuary); B.C. Seniors Games (grant-in-aid) and the Canadian Waterman Festival ($2,000).

Last week, the committee of the whole defeated a motion from Coun. Patti Fletcher to find room in the police protection budget for $1,000 to assist the 2011 Operation Red Nose program.

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The next Official Community Plan open house is April 4 at d'Esterre House.

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