A10-year management agreement with the Nanaimo Art Gallery comes before city council Monday. The arts organization aims to expand and upgrade its current facility at 150 Commercial St.
Council approved the agreement in principle on June 24. The proposal would see the art gallery's annual city operating grant of $64,400 increase by $30,000 each year, and would also allocate a $50,000 one-time grant for the first phase of renovations to the facility.
NAG currently operates two locations: the downtown gallery, plus another at the Nanaimo Vancouver Island University campus.
The long-term vision is to consolidate both galleries under one roof at 150 Commercial, and upgrade the building to a high-level, national standard.. A phased development plan formed by NAG would see the building undergo renovation and expansion over several years.
Deborah Zorkin, who was named the new president of the art gallery's board of directors in July, will appear before Mayor John Ruttan and councillors to provide an update on plans for the facility.
The project also has the backing of the parks, recreation and culture commission.
Centre Stage returns
Nanaimo council members will take another look at a budget increase for renovation work at the Nanaimo Centre Stage community theatre. The city-owned building is located at 25 Victoria Rd. and is home to approximately 30 arts groups who use the facility throughout the year.
However, the building requires $800,000 in renovations to its exterior. City staff have flagged loose stucco cladding and brick as a safety concern. In March, Council approved $160,000 is partial repairs to the building as a stop-gap measure, but city staff recently recommended a $30,000-contingency increase to the project budget, which was in turn based in turn on recommendation's from the project's design engineer. On Oct. 7, council requested more information from staff after concerns were raised by members of the public that the reno could uncover seismic or hazardous waste issues that could greatly increase the cost of fixing the building past the $1-million mark.
According to the report before council Monday, the building was rated as a 'low priority' for seismic evaluation during a screening of city buildings.
A hazardous materials assessment of the building found no asbestos or other dangerous materials, however, the report notes: "There is a possibility that asbestos containing or other hazardous materials be discovered in concealed areas during demolition."
Camela Tang, president of the group that operates the theatre, Centre for the Arts Nanaimo, is slated to speak on the project to council on Monday.
New city art app
The city has launched a new digital application to take residents through a tour of Nanaimo's best public art pieces.
The Nanaimo Art Explorer App (available at https://m.nanaimo. ca/art/) will allow anyone with a smartphone to find and see a map of exhibits from their current location. The app will also provide information about each exhibit, including images and information about each artist.
The technology builds on the city's existing online art inventory at www.nanaimo.ca.
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