Last week members of the Bonnyville & District Fine Arts Society met with representatives of Northern Lights Public Schools, politicians and community members, to discuss possible options for the arts after the modernization of Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) begins. Corita Vachon, with the society, says coming out of the meeting there will be a committee formed that will further explore what a new theatre will look like and what type of fundraising is needed.
Currently the society uses the Lyle Victor Albert Centre (LVAC), however with the BCHS modernization possible plans are to demolish the theatre. Even if not demolished the theatre needs extensive upgrades, so the society has begun to explore their options in building a new theatre. “Once the LVAC is demolished, our community will be without a community theatre. Period. Regardless of where this new ‘community performing arts centre’ will be, it will cost a lot of money to set up,” says Vachon. Immediate fundraising is needed while the society decides on a new home.
One of the ideas was to transform the existing BCHS gym into a theatre as part of the modernization plans. Some concerns came up with this idea, Vachon says personally she would find the logistics tricky. “What will the terms of a long term agreement between the NLSD & stakeholders look like? Who pays for the setup & upkeep of this shared space? Isn’t all this space already covered in our school taxes? How are issues settled when the community needs the space at the same time the school does?”. Others at the meeting agreed that the logistics may be hard to navigate, so they proposed exploring all options, before committing to anything.
“The Fine Arts Society looked at several vacant buildings within the community & tossed similar possibilities. These ideas will be brought to our next meeting for discussion,” the society is keeping an open mind with any suggestion the community may have, explains Vachon.
“The school requested the Bonnyville & District Fine Arts Society provide a ‘yay or nay’ decision following our upcoming meeting on February 11,” with so many options to explore and questions that need to be answered, Vachon is unsure if the society will be able to come to a decision within that timeline.
The Fine Arts Society is conducting a series of performance fundraisers for the “New Theatre Fund.” On January 27 2018 at the LVAC, 2 former Bonnyville students will provide the kickoff fundraiser. Carmen Lucia & Robert Adam. Tickets can be purchased at Tellier’s Guardian Pharmacy, Norglass (2002) Ltd.