Nelson city council voted on changes to the Official Community Plan at last week’s council meeting in order to accommodate development of the St. Saviour’s Hall, but applicant and Cottonwood Falls Animal Clinic owner Theresa Hart says her intentions were misrepresented.
“I don’t know how people have gotten this idea,” says Hart. “I think it’s partly to do with what the zoning request is, but people are left with this idea that I want to develop the theatre as a residence, and that’s not what I’m asking for.”
Her vision for the building involves moving her practice into the main floor of the newer part of the building.
“Currently the Francophone Society is in the old portion of the building the main floor. I want to keep them there. The upstairs is a theatre and meeting room, like for instance there is a knitting club that meets there. My goal is to eventually have live/work situation where I would live right above the practice. I would only develop the new addition part. I wouldn’t touch the theatre,” she says.
Hart says she values the importance of the heritage buildings in Nelson and doesn’t want to touch the exterior of the building.
“I’ve always loved the building, partly because I love old granite buildings and when it was being run as the TNT theatre, I attended a number of different productions there,” she says. “One of the big reasons I was even drawn to Nelson was because of the heritage buildings. I live just up the hill from it and I see it every day and so the minute it became available I thought that would be the perfect place to have my practice and maybe become involved in the theatre community of Nelson, just being able to support it.”
The theatre is also important for Hart because she thinks it could benefit smaller theatre groups in Nelson.
“My underlying impetus for buying the building is to sort of have a cultural space in Nelson that I can make available to people on a subsidized level,” she says. “I know a lot of new young unestablished theatre, music and art can’t afford some of the venues. I want to make a space available to people that won’t be cost prohibitive to encourage up and coming artistic endeavours.”
A public hearing will be held regarding the rezoning of the St. Saviour’s Hall later this fall.