Parksville approves allocation of up to $50,000 for local BC Culture Days events

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Parksville council has approved providing up to $50,000 to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) and the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA) to plan local events during BC Culture Days.

Jennifer Bate, executive director of the MAC, will be one of the community organizers for the Oceanside region’s celebrations. BC Culture Days is part of the national Culture Days organization, which puts on free arts and culture events every year from mid-September to mid-October.

The funding will come from the city’s COVID relief grant and is dependent upon council’s acceptance of a business plan and budget outlining the event. Bate has requested a meeting with council to discuss the project. 

She and local artist Pattiann Withapea have proposed a number of events including: a community public art project, Parksville Outdoor Theatre performances, a short documentary film festival, a juried digital art exhibition and competition and a rotational arts and cultural festival and market.

Coun. Doug O’Brien said the proposal sounds like a good idea, but was concerned about council approving the funds prior to discussing the events with the organizers. 

“We’re approving something that I’m a little foggy on what it’s going to contain,” he said, adding he thought it would be unfair to the group if it put in work on the project and then council decided not to approve it.

Mayor Ed Mayne said he hopes the events will help stimulate the economy, particularly in the downtown core. He added the events could happen later if the organizers needed more time to plan.

Parksville will be one of at least 55 communities in B.C. and over 1,000 across Canada participating in this year’s Culture Days.

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