$300,000 a welcome grant for Christina Living Arts Centre

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
March 25th, 2011

Christina Lake welcomed $300,000 to finish their new tourism and arts centre. Just before Christmas the Christina Lake Chamber of Commerce applied to Western Economic Diversification Canada for funds to complete a number of aspects of the new Christina Living Arts Centre. The Centre will be the visitor information centre as well as housing an art gallery shop, offices, a café, and space for events.  “The funds are from the Mountain Pine Beetle Grant and come from other projects which either defaulted or didn’t use all of their funding,” said Bob Dupee, one of the key volunteers who put the project together, “so we applied for the remaining funds to be channelled into the new Living Arts Centre. We are delighted that we now have money to complete all the unfinished work yet to do.”  The list of work to be done includes roadwork, flooring, landscaping and a myriad of other things which all needed to be done, but had no funds to complete.  “A lot of what needs to be done is in the kitchen area,” explained. “We’ve got landscaping, recycled tire pavers that will go all around the building for handicapped access, wheelchair access ramps to build, all of the roadwork is yet to be done – grading, gravelling and installing recycled asphalt. We’re waiting for warmer weather for that.”  This will bring the total amount that the project has brought to the region to just under $2 million. All of this money, except for $22,000 which was donated by locals through art auctions and other fundraisers, came from federal and provincial grants and regional gas tax refunds.  The main work over the last few months has been to finish the floors, complete all required permitted work, and get their licence of occupation so they can open, said Dupee.  The main foyer floor has been painted in a three-dimensional mural by Tyler Toews and Steven Skolka of Canadian Murals.  “This was a real challenge for them too because they’ve never done a floor mural,” explained Dupee. “It’s a very different perspective looking down at something at your feet than it is looking at something way off on a big building.” Toews and Skolka prepped the mural on plexiglass and used a laser to lay out the art to get the full perspective. They show old photographs, Cascade falls, trestles and even Kokanee spawning.  Duppee laughed when reminded about the small shack on the highway that housed the tourism information booth for the lake area only a few years ago. “That was the best foot we could put forward back in those days,” smiled Dupee. “It’s nice to be able to have something that’s worthy of Christina Lake. It’s a beautiful area, the whole region is gorgeous. If you don’t give people something to see and appreciate that in they can tend to move along.”  Dupee said the support of volunteers, local organizations like Community Futures Boundary, Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, Western Diversification (Canada), and Grace McGregor, area director were all critical to the completion of the project.

“I’m really, really happy that they got further funding for the project,” said McGregor. “It’s going to be complete, it’s going to be open, and it’s going to say, welcome to Christina Lake in the way I want it to say welcome to Christina Lake.” 


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