Bowen Island is one of the few communities in Canada that does not have a dedicated space for publicly delivered programs, activities and assembly. Even before we became a municipality, the community wanted a facility for residents and visitors to gather, a place of its own in which to develop and strengthen all aspects of our rural island quality of life.
Over the years, the Municipality has reached out to stakeholders and community members to identify the needs of all islanders. The work completed to date included functional and programming studies to determine the highest priorities.
Time after time, the main challenges were:
complete lack of, or inappropriate, spaces for programming needs
increased demand for recreational and cultural programming which cannot be met due to unavailability of space
a complete lack of a large indoor space during the week
limited access to and availability of spaces owned and used by other organizations, whose own programming is a priority
More recently, in 2017, the Bowen Island Community Foundation convened a dialogue with the community. The resulting Vital Conversations report highlighted the need to “Create Gathering Spaces for All.” While the report acknowledged “there are a number of venues for various social, artistic, and sports activities”, it also concluded that “they are scattered across the island and are not always adequate to accommodate large groups of people. For many islanders, a community centre is the logical solution to these limitations.”
These reports, studies and community input gave us the framework to come up with a flexible, multi-use facility that will make the best use of every dollar spent.
Countless hours of volunteer, staff and Council time have gone into planning, engaging the community, and applying for grants to build the Community Centre.
Now, Bowen Island is so close to making it happen.
Who is leading the project?
Council has made the Community Centre project its biggest priority since 2015.
Now, everything is in place to move forward: unanimous Council support and leadership, an exciting design, financial and operating plans, most of the capital funding, and demonstration of community support.
We have a strong management team with a professional project manager, architects, engineers, and Municipal staff with the knowledge and experience to successfully manage this major capital project.
Why this design? Why not something else?
This design of the Community Centre may not have a swimming pool, or an ice rink, or a daycare, but it could be a launching point for expansion opportunities.
Funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is specific to this Community Centre, and the delivery of specific amenities for community, arts and recreation. At this point, we need to use the grant money to build this Community Centre, and we can’t use it for any other project.
Completing the Community Centre on time and on budget will build confidence in Bowen Island’s ability to act decisively and build essential infrastructure. It will be a catalyst for future funding from the federal and provincial governments that will help us realize additional projects that are important to our community.
We know you want to learn more about the project, ask questions and be informed to make your decision for the referendum on September 12. That’s why we’re holding a few open houses, virtual and in person.