City of Parksville moves money around to fund outdoor theatre project

Artist rendering of the Parksville Beach Festival Society’s proposed outdoor performance stage. || Parksville Beach Festival Society photo
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Parksville council has approved a motion to juggle funds to make up for a $515,000 shortfall in funding for the Parksville Outdoor Theatre project.

Council agreed to make up the shortfall by using funds originally budgeted for the Memorial Avenue project, which includes infrastructure upgrades, streetscape enhancements and the construction of a plaza. The city will then use gas tax funding to make up the difference in the Memorial Avenue project. 

City staff need to shuffle the funds because the outdoor theatre project is already being funded by a federal Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure (CCRI) grant and the city is not permitted to use federal gas tax money to pay its portion of the cost, according to Keeva Kehler, chief administrative officer.

“I think it’s a very creative way to carry on with this very important project. We’re so deep into it now and realize as well this going to be an asset for the City of Parksville. So, I think it’s very important we get on with this,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien. 

In early 2020, the city’s CCRI grant application was approved. The total grant funding amounts to $1,263,521, including $802,336 for the theatre and $461,185 for the city’s planned Gathering Space project.

Council also unanimously approved a motion to award the construction contract for $1,298,500 to Copcan Civil Ltd. and authorized staff to approve contingency expenditures of up to $129,850. 

“We are going to spend a grand total of $500,000 of Parksville money on this project for something that’s going to cost $1.5 million. So in my mind, if you can get something $1.5 million worth of assets for a $500,000 investment, I think you’ve done pretty good,” said Mayor Ed Mayne.

The 2021 budget also required a contribution from Parksville Beach Festival Society of $187,214 of which $21,530 was received. A further budget shortfall arises unless the society contributes the additional $165,684 to the city as its share of the project, according to a report by Joe Doxey, manager of infrastructure. 

The city is exploring opportunities to work with Parksville Beach Festival Society on an operating partnership upon completion of the facility, but this is not yet finalized, Doxey’s report said.

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