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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over a year after announcing its intention to take over operations of the North Peace Cultural Centre, the City of Fort St. John has agreed to work with the Cultural Society to craft a cultural services agreement that will, among other things, allow the society to lease and continue operating the centre.

This agreement, defined in a memorandum of understanding signed by both the city and the cultural society, sets out intentions and goals—of promoting arts and culture development in the community—to which both parties can agree. 

“The MOU…provides the framework and guidance for both parties to deliver arts and cultural services in the community, both collaboratively and autonomously, and ensures the relationship continues based on mutual trust and respect,” the city and the society said in a joint statement. 

The North Peace Cultural Centre Lease and Cultural Services agreements are currently being finalized, the statement said. 

The previous Cultural Services Agreement between the two parties ended in November of 2020.

Discussions to renew were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the NPCS.

On June 15th, 2021, the city announced that it would assume management of the cultural centre from the society. The city cited programming, facility use, financial mismanagement, and maintenance concerns as reasons behind the decision.

The NPCS presented in council that summer and protested the sudden decision and lack of consultation and communication from the city.

Mediation between the city and the society began in December, 2021, and have continued since. The MOU, signed on Tuesday, marked the current position of these discussions: that the NPCS will continue to use the centre leased from the city, under conditions which are yet to be named, for the purpose of arts and culture development and improvement in Fort St. John.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.