On Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 The Kimberley Arts Council and Centre 64 celebrated the grand opening of their brand new wheelchair lift, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and special arts presentation at Centre 64.
Members of the Arts Council including Committee Chair Carol Fergus, Honorary Chairperson Caprice Hogg, designers, City workers and local dignitaries including Mayor Don McCormick and Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski were present at the unveiling for a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
For many years the Arts Council has had the goal of making the theatre more accessible for all patrons. Before the lift was installed, the only way to access the theatre was via several flights of stairs. theatre-goers and artists alike can now access the theatre by taking the lift, which is located through the exit doors of the Studio 64 space.
The KAC raised over $200,000 to make the lift possible, with the help of sponsors, grants, community events and other fundraisers.
Mayor Don McCormick gave a short speech on Friday, congratulating those involved with the fundraising and construction efforts.
“Congratulations to Carol and the rest of her team because ten years ago, no matter who the organization was, the prospect of raising $200,000 to do something like this – nobody would have even tried,” said McCormick. “Here we are in 2018 and now 2019; this was an incredibly successful effort.”
He adds that although the project was rather small in scope, the lift was completed in just eight months.
“Congratulations to Dennis and Chad and the rest of the crew for making that happen,” said McCormick.
Dennis Bathory, who is a semi-retired architect, volunteered his skills and expertise to help with the entire project from fundraising to construction.
Bathory also spoke on Friday, stating that it’s communities like Kimberley that make projects like these possible.
“This is a big deal…we built excitement and new relationships along the way and we are successful,” said Bathory. “They say that arts make a community, in the converse that’s also true, this community is making the arts happen. I congratulate you all and I am so glad to be a part of it.”
MP Wayne Stetski also spoke, stating the importance of being able to include the entire community in the range of arts that take place at Centre 64.
“Many of us have come here over the years to enjoy the great art that is provided here at Centre 64,” said Stetski. “[What’s] important to me, in terms of what makes the community, is caring for all of our neighbours. Putting in this lift shows how much all of you care for your neighbours, the people here in Kimberley, and those who are going to come and enjoy the arts here.”
Sponsors of the lift include a Cultural Spaces grant from Heritage Canada, BC Gaming, Have Camera Will Travel, the City of Kimberley and the Give us a Lift Campaign.
Business partners in the construction and completion of the lift include Cover Architectural Collaborative Ltd., New Dawn Construction Ltd. and Roberts Elevators and Lifts.