Location considered for arts centre

The municipality is considering an option to develop the former library building as an arts and cultural centre for the community.

The municipality is considering an option to develop the former library building on Wharton Street as an arts and cultural centre for the community.

At the last municipal council meeting on Feb. 22, council voted to explore the option, work with stakeholders and report back to council at a future meeting.

Jeremy Denegar, director of corporate services for the municipality, said the option, if adopted, would provide a larger and more permanent space for the Summerland Community Arts Council and the Summerland Potters’ Guild.

“What they have now is a temporary space,” he said.

The arts centre and gallery is housed in a former retail building on Main Street, while the potters’ guild operates out of a building on Victoria Road North, near Main Street.

Earlier, the two organizations were housed in the former municipal hall building on Main Street, but that building was torn down for the construction of the library.

Denegar said the present space for the arts centre, at 223 square metres, is much smaller than the previous location.

Betty Cansdale, president of the arts council, said the news is exciting for the arts organizations in Summerland.

“We are very happy to know that we will have a permanent place to call home, complete with enough space to run all of our arts programs, the art gallery and to bring back all of our member groups to a central meeting place,” Cansdale said.

“We are excited by the possibilities and look forward to this becoming a reality.”

The building on Main Street houses a gallery space and a gift shop. It also provides space for arts classes and a meeting area for the 17 member groups.

The potters’ guild is in a building with an area of 116 square metres.

The municipality’s license of occupation agreements for both buildings will expire on May 31, but municipal council does not want to leave the future of the arts organizations unsettled.

“Whatever the outcome of the exploration of the option to develop the old library building, it is the intention of the district to help the Summerland Community Arts Council and Potters’ Guild find permanent homes,” Denegar said.

The upper level of the former library building is 316 square metres, while the lower level is 279 square metres.

Denegar said municipal staff have already looked at the condition of the old library building.

Earlier this year, the roof of the building was replaced, but other than that, Denegar said it is in good condition.

The library building was constructed in 1981 and housed the library until the new facility was opened last year.

Denegar added that other organizations, including the Summerland Asset Development Initiative, are interested in the former library building.

The Summerland Museum is also in need of additional space.