The Give Us A Lift project is in full swing and construction is slated to start in a few short weeks.
Currently, the Centre 64 Performing Arts Centre is not accessible to those with mobility issues, as it is located on the second story of the building.
For the past year the KAC has been fundraising in an effort to install an accessibility lift. To date, the KAC has raised $200,000, which is $25,000 over their initial goal.
Carol Fergus and Dennis Bathory from the Kimberley Arts Council presented an update on the status of the project at a regular Council meeting on Monday, March 12, 2018.
Fergus says it “hardly seems possible” that they have gotten to this point in the project, as they only started fundraising one year ago.
Fergus explained to Council that the KAC received two of the four grants they applied for through federal and provincial programs. They were also able to raise $20,000 through the Have Camera Will Travel series at Centre 64, along with many other fundraising initiatives and $15,000 from the City.
One of the stipulations from the federal grant states that the funding received ($75,000) must be spent by the end of March, 2018. Fergus explained that the second stipulation states that the KAC must spend a matching amount of funds 90 days after the first deadline, making their timeline to start and finish construction quite short. Construction is slated to begin on April 1 and their goal is to have construction complete by September of this year.
Bathory, who is a semi-retired Architect, is volunteering his skills and time to help with the design and construction of the lift.
Bathory says that there were three different bids for construction, and local builder New Dawn Developments have been hired.
“The old drawings for the lift were too complicated, so we have simplified things a bit and it will now be in the most feasible, accessible location,” Bathory said.
The lift will be located beside the emergency exit doors, facing the parking lot. It uses an overhead hydraulic system and the lift takes 30 seconds to get patrons from the first to second floor, with the push of a button.
The lift will also require a building permit, a new sprinkler system and construction of a hoist way among other things. The plans include a minor facelift on the outside of the building, however those plans will be contingent on financing.
Councillor Albert Hoglund asked Bathory if there were any plans for the old elevator shaft that is in the building. Bathory replied saying that they have no plans for it and that it’s currently not on their radar.
Holgund then asked about emergency procedures involving the lift, including what happens when several people need to use it.
Bathory says that the lift may or may not work in an emergency scenario, depending on the situation, but there is an evacuation plan with a fire-safe hallway.
Fergus added that the lift has the option of being operated manually, which was one of the reasons they chose the design they did.
Fergus says they are “really excited” and that none of it would be possible without the grant funding, local and City support including the Fire Department and Building Department.
Councillor Bev Middlebrook congratulated Fergus, Bathory and the rest of the KAC on their accomplishments.
“Way to go, that is quite an accomplishment to raise that much money and to actually bring this to light. It’s pretty impressive, good job, that’s hard work,” said Middlebrook.
Mayor Don McCormick also congratulated the KAC, saying that this has been their vision for a long time.