LETTER: Sept. 3 letter mischaracterizes performing arts and community space

Dear Editor:

Steve Rio does a disservice in his Sept. 3 letter. Not because of his opinions, but because of the mischaracterization of the  2600 sq. ft. Performing Arts & Community Space (PACS) as a ‘dream of a very small percentage of the island’.

That space will be far more than a performance hall; it will be the venue for everything from weddings to dances to movies and assemblies. With retractable seating, there is inherent flexibility and room for many indoor uses, and with the adjacent outdoor courtyard, will be highly versatile.

The construction costs of the whole facility are essentially the same, or at least averaged. A big box costs less per square metre than a small one. Granted, the acoustical finishing, sound and light systems etc will bump the price, but they are ‘last in’, so if there are overruns, those furnishings can simply be deferred. The PACS component is not the element that triggers the need to borrow; that is solely because of the municipal hall component which was not eligible for  federal/provincial funding. The cost for that is about $4 illion, half of which will come from rental savings, the other half from borrowing over 30 years.

I do agree with Mr. Rio that latter day public engagement has been poor, but needs assessments and earlier public process clearly identified each of the components that are now envisioned. It is pretty unlikely that a climbing wall or skate park or courts would trump the mix of uses addressed in the design.

Please get out and vote.

Peter Frinton

Past councillor and chair/member of various Civic Facilities committees and working groups.

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