On Another Stream (Published Op-Ed) 1C

And here is the column that will appear in Monday’s edition (November 5th):

Another way to look at a Performing Arts Centre

Part III: And what else could we do to make it a better idea and one that keeps more of us connected to the facility?

It’s no secret that our town needs more downtown parking. Now that Greyhound is leaving, the city could negotiate a takeover of that property and develop a sizeable parkade on the site. It could not only provide parking for the PAC but with an added shuttle service, it could ferry people to/from the SOEC – in fact get places like the Bad Tattoo, Cannery Brewing, Mile Zero, Time Winery, etc. to help sponsor it by offering on event days/nights meals/refreshments before the event and a ride to the SOEC or PAC and back again. (This is a big feature of Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton where places as far away as Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Leduc, etc. do this.) Properly designed the parkade would go down at least one level and have at least three levels beyond ground giving a total of five levels of parking. It would even provide additional downtown parking for regular business days. In addition, a skywalk could permit people to walk directly to the theatre from level four encouraging people to use the upper floors first for evening events.

In the dismembering of the physical buildings there could be a number of physical aspects that could be incorporated into the design and function of the new PAC. The magnificent stone work of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian could be disassembled and then used in external façades and in the lobbies. Similarly the beams of the Penticton United church could find a home in parts of the interior design. As well, pianos, organs, and other musical instruments could be utilized both in the main auditorium and in some of the practice rooms while pulpits, communion tables, altars, and the like could be put in accessible storage areas and brought out for the appropriate denominational event. Even such things as banquet-type tables and chairs could be placed in the sub-basements for use by organizations for meetings, practices, and the like; and pews could be set around the parking lots and adjacent parks as simple resting spots.

As mentioned before, the stained glass windows could easily be placed in sturdy frames, set on movable dollies inserted in tracks and brought in and other as appropriate to help create a church-like ambiance to any service held in the main auditorium.

Oh, and another thing, since health care is supposed to be universal and part of our Canadian social fabric, how about the province returning at least a portion of the $20 million we had to raise for the hospital and giving that to our PCC. Call it a gift for our collective mental wellness!

So, time to start the conversation?