Who knew advocates of the performing arts were such a persistent bunch? For years now, various versions of a society have been trying to get a performing arts centre built in Penticton.
The newest leaders of the society, who took the torch earlier this year, now say they’re going right back to the drawing board to see if there’s still enough
support to pursue the idea – and what the idea even is.
Everything you thought you knew about the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre is out the door, apparently,
including maybe the proposed downtown Penticton location.
So forgive some local politicians for
being skeptical this week about coughing up $10,000 to help the society put on a
Yet, despite that skepticism, enough of them went along with the plan to get the group the money it needs: $5,000 each from the City of Penticton and Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. The society will toss in $5,000 of its own, bringing the budget for the workshop, tentatively set for late October, to $15,000.
That was the easy part, because Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki was
correct earlier this week when he said a performing arts centre won’t actually get built without the RDOS getting on board.
That’s how it was done up the highway, where the North Okanagan Regional District is the proud owner of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, the largest of its kind in the Valley.
But as Summerland Coun. Doug Holmes pointed out at Thursday’s RDOS meeting, Penticton’s local politicians sometimes assume that what’s good for Penticton is good for everyone else.
“It’s not as if… by having something centred in Penticton it’s doing the region a favour,” he said.
His views are clearly shared by at least the mayors of Osoyoos and Keremeos, plus the RDOS directors for rural Oliver and Princeton, all of whom voted Thursday against the funding request.
We’re skeptical about the need for
another performing arts venue given the region already boasts facilities like the Cleland Theatre and SOEC in Penticton, the gorgeously restored Venables Theatre in Oliver and the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland. We can also think of much better uses for that $10,000.
The best we can hope for now is that whatever comes out of the workshop is definitive, and if there isn’t solid support for a new arts centre that the concept is finally allowed to exit stage left.
— City editor Joe Fries