FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — City councillors discussed the next steps for the proposed Creative Hub with the Fort St. John Arts Council after being presented with a progress report on Monday.
Representing the arts council, secretary Connie Sureus, vice chair Margaret May, and council chair Rosemary Landry went over the report with council during a committee of the whole meeting.
The report expands past the feasibility study results presented to local governments in April 2022, including a decision on which build option the council would focus on for the project.
The three options were an expansion to the North Peace Cultural Centre, a new building of creator spaces on a lot on the corner of 100th Avenue and 100th Street, or a new building of creator spaces and additional housing on the 100th and 100th lot.
After consulting city staff, the arts council pursued the third option of creative space and housing on the 100th and 100th lot.
The council is proposing a building with two floors of creative spaces, two to three floors of housing units, and two levels of underground parking. The report also suggested having other spaces within the building, such as office, commercial, and classroom spaces.
Sureus and May also highlighted the benefits of the 100th and 100th location to the city’s downtown core, mentioning revitalization and bringing more focus, activity, and industry to the area.
“We think this could be a huge game changer,” Sureus said.
May stated that a hub like this could help drive existing and hopeful groups to the city and the centre.
“I’m a big believer in, if you build it, they will come,” May said.
Sureus also shared a rough timeline for the project.
According to her, the group wants the design done, partners confirmed, and costs calculated by the end of 2023. In 2024, the focus would be raising funds before construction begins in the spring of 2025.
Sureus said the ambitious timeline was to help prevent stagnation and see to it that the idea became a reality.
“We don’t want to just have a possibility, and continue to do more feasibility studies, and talk about this thing ad nauseam, and never actually build it,” Sureus said.
The report also noted that several partners had already expressed interest in owning or leasing space within the hub, but nothing was set in stone yet. These groups included School District 60, Metis Nation, Salvation Army, and Northern Health.
The proposed idea to have the hub located at 100th and 100th with additional housing was heavily praised by council after the presentation, particularly by councillors Trevor Bolin and Tony Zabinsky.
Bolin expressed some concerns about operational costs for the hub but had no doubts they could find funding to build the project.
City council and the arts council discussed working together to decide how the land would be procured from the city. The main options brought up were the city donating the land, the arts council entering a lease with the city, or outright purchasing it.
City council also carried a motion to receive and answer a series of questions provided to council by Colliers, an Edmonton real estate company working with the art council on the project.
The arts council also mentioned hosting an open house in the future, but no location or date has been confirmed.
The full progress report on the Creative Hub can be read below:
Thanks for Reading!
Energeticcity.ca is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it–but we need your support.
Give $10 a month to Energeticcity.ca today and be the reason we can cover the next story.