Feedback has been positive on the plans for a new performance stage in Brentwood Bay’s Pioneer Park.
Last week neighbours and interested participants met at an open house to see what the plan is and offer some input, suggestions and feedback.
For the past 18 years, the Brentwood Bay Community Association has been hosting the popular Music in the Park series.
“Brentwood is a very culturally minded community. The Music in the Park Series is very popular,” said Geoff Bate, who is one of seven on the board of directors for the Brentwood Bay Community Association.
With hundreds of people attending every week in the summer to hear the music, Bate says it’s gotten to the point where they don’t even care who’s playing.
“They just bring the family and the kids and the blankets and the dogs and show up and have a great time,” he said.
For those 18 years, the performances have taken place on a series of temporary stages, and the group decided they wantd to put some thought into building a permanent one.
Last Spring, the Association went to council who passed a motion in support of the program.
“We were specifically making a point that we were not asking for any public money. It’s all private, it’s all fundraised, it’s all volunteer, and when it’s finished we will gift it to the municipality,” said Bate.
Bate said he hopes the Association’s Music in the Park will be just one of many users of the stage. He’s spoken with Peninsula Players and some of the drama groups talking about possibly doing Shakespeare in the Park or Mozart in the Park. Bate said there could also be Zumba, yoga or tai chi classes in the park along with wedding ceremonies, lectures or workshops.
At the recent open house, comment forms were filled out and people even gave some cheques towards the project.
Fundraising has been going on for six months now, and they are somewhere around half to two thirds of where they need to be.
“We’re working with an operating budget of about $150,000 but we do have tremendous support from the construction and trades communities,” said Bate.
John Tidman of Tidman Construction Ltd. has jumped on board as the project manager for the stage project, and will be spearheading the construction side of things.
Bate has also talked to suppliers who are also on board to lend the Association a helping hand.
The time frame is dependent on weather, permits and approvals. Bate said most importantly, they are at the mercy of a busy construction trades industry.
“One of our biggest challenges is going to be getting labour. It’s been quite a good process getting materials donated, but everyone has said ‘we can’t give you a crew, we can’t give you manpower,’ it’s just too busy,” he said, adding that many companies are booked six months to nine months ahead of time.
Bate said if they can overcome the challenges, they are hoping to be breaking ground in March, finished in May and holding their first event on the first weekend of the Brentwood Bay Festival in June.