When you read today’s story on the proposal for the Civic Theatre, the figure of $2.7 million will likely jump off the page. It’s an important number, but not one to dwell on.
The Nelson Civic Theatre Society threw out that number during its highly anticipated presentation to city council Monday night. To the society’s credit, they didn’t shy away from the figure, even knowing it would raise eyebrows all across the community.
The amount needed to make the facility a viable business is somewhat staggering. Critics will pounce on it with an “I told you so.” It’s likely some supporters will have second thoughts.
Then you need to look more carefully.
It’s important to note that the initial price tag is based on very conservative budgeting. “It’s like learning public speaking with a mouth full of marbles; if you can pull it off, imagine how great you’ll be without ‘em!” said one society member.
It’s not going to cost $2.7 million to get the theatre fixed. In-kind and volunteer labour will bring it down. Donated material will drop it even further.
The society is looking for rent relief not unlike the Soccer Quest facility in the old arena. The society will fix up a sadly lacking facility in return for a 20-year lease for a token amount. In return the city gets a desired business that enhances the appeal of the city.
There will be no annual grant required so there will be no money going out to the society to make ends meet. The theatre will run on its own business plan.
Through its 1,280 members to date, the society has shown there is great interest in the return of a theatre to Nelson.
The most important part of this project is the risk to an already overburdened taxpayer. Will this cost of returning the silver screen to Nelson impact the average person on the street? This should be city council’s main criteria for moving ahead with the society as the tenant. Though the big number off the top needs to be examined carefully, it’s in no way a deal breaker.
Let us know what you think about the future of the Nelson Civic Theatre via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.