The process of figuring out how to fund a new facility to replace the Kelowna Community Theatre is underway

Planning to replace KCT

Replacing the aging Kelowna Community Theatre won't come cheap.

Estimates for a new performing arts centre with a capacity of to 1,200 people could come in as high as $75 million.

That figure could be more depending when the funds can be secured to build it.

Partnership manager Sandra Kochan says improvements made to the building that turns 60 next year will ensure it stays successful while plans are made for a new performing arts centre.

"It is a certainty KCT must eventually retire, and that a retirement plan is needed," said Kochan.

Just where the money needed to build a new performing arts centre will come from, and what to do during the transition, were part of a lengthy consultants report Monday.

The funding feasibility report prepared by Colliers suggested the city may need to be creative in looking for way to fund such a large-scale project.

"As we look back at the objectives for the work this year, we know the city's standard funding formula of borrowing, grants and taxation are all available, but they have constraints and will have to be augmented from other sources," said Kochan.

"The constraints will also affect the timing of this initiative in the capital plan.

"We've heard philanthropy and sponsorship opportunities have the potential to ease the taxation and borrowing demand. Analysis shows a significant campaign with the right planning and leadership could generate positive results."

However, officials with Colliers, who presented their findings to council, warned that grant funding from the federal government could be difficult to attain.

Grants for cultural infrastructure are limited, said Colliers representative Carly Frey.

"Canada Cultural Spaces Fund is available where capital funding is available on a matching basis," she said.

"They are available up to 50 per cent, but experience indicated a typical grant is around 37 per cent, but funding for a project of this size is unlikely."

Frey also said the operating model the city ultimately chooses will be a key driver, especially in terms of philanthropy.

"The interviewees expressed both philanthropic and community donations were more easily raised for a facility not operated by government.

"Borrowing will be an essential component, and the project may have to be deferred until there is sufficient borrowing capacity."

The city will have to borrow funds to construct a new recreation centre to replace the aging Parkinson Rec Centre in the very near future.

There were also discussions of how to fill the void as a replacement for the community theatre is being constructed.

One suggestion included smaller capital projects to increase the supply of alternative venues during the transition, and into the future.

The planning process will continue through the coming year.

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