MIDWAY COUNCIL – Theatre looks for home

Former BCSS drama teacher has brought a proposal to council that would see the Midway little Theatre operating from the community hall.

Midway resident John Hibberson came before village council at their Nov. 18 regular meeting seeking their blessing for his proposal to use the community hall as a home for little theatre.

Hibberson told council that the Midway Little Theatre (MLT) would help fill a need for cultural activities in the West Boundary.

“I am asking you to look at using the hall in a completely different way,” he explained, adding that his vision is to share the community hall with other users through the use of a curtain across the stage and storage in the former air cadet’s room in the basement.

Hibberson taught drama at Boundary Central Senior Secondary (BCSS) before retiring and he pointed out his offer brings with it his 25 years of experience in the theatre.

“Theater pays for itself,” he said. “On a two-week run (three shows per week) the first week pays expenses and the second is profit.”

His first step would be to install a lighting system. The information package he presented to council prior to the meeting included an $8,300 quote for the system. He plans to finance the initial investment through grants applied for under the umbrella of the Midway Community Club. Possible sources of funding include grants from Area E, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities and the village.

He told council that MLT would be a regional theatre with participants coming from across the West Boundary. As well as the lighting he envisions building a portable stage in front of the existing one.

He told council that a production might be mounted as early as March, but if that is not feasible then in September.

In answer to a question from Councillor Dick Dunsdon Hibberson explained that the theatre stage at BCSS is essentially unavailable for a community theatre company.

“If there is a class then MLT would not be able to rehearse with the set unless it was taken down [at the end of each rehearsal],” he said, adding that the costs for a two week run for janitorial alone would be prohibitive.

Later in the meeting council agreed to add the item to their file for 2014 budget discussions. Mayor Randy Kappes said he sees Hibberson’s proposal as an opportunity, though the village would need to see commitments from MLT in such areas as a volunteer recruitment and success at obtaining grants.

Council asked staff to prepare a report.

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Council has accepted a bid of $18,036.52 from Omega Communication Ltd. for a new repeater system that would put the West Boundary Highway Rescue on their own radio channel.

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Following up on a offer from the Rotary Club to pay the cost of equipment, a motion was passed to have a WIFI access point installed at the library effective January 2014. It is estimated that it will cost about $700 plus maintenance annually to provide the service.

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Council considered four ideas for use and management of the Kettle River Museum bunkhouse.

Proposals had come to council to use it as a bunkhouse, a gift shop or a restaurant. In the end it was agreed to continue to rent the building for use as a bunkhouse providing shelter for tree planters.

The museum directors had asked council to consider sharing the employment costs of a full-time, year-round manager. The museum would be responsible for paying the manager’s wages during their five month summer period and the village would cover the other seven months with the employee responsible for managing the arena and other duties during the museum off-season.

Council was unanimous in turning down the idea. They did, however, begin discussions on sharing revenue generated by the bunkhouse lease with the museum. This item was also added to the budget discussion file that will be revisited next spring.

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Council turned down a request for a grant from the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities. The foundation is seeking funding partners for an update of their 2009 Vital Signs report on the Boundary area.

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Council voted to provide a $1,000 grant-in-aid to the Midway Community Club. For a number of years the community club has given two $500 bursaries to BCSS grads. However the group’s primary source of funding in the past has been a $1,000 from the regional district’s Regional Recreation Commission.

Councillor Marguerite Rotvold insisted a letter accompany the cheque asking the group to use the regional rec grant for recreation rather than scholarships. The village grant will be revisited during the 2014 budget discussions.

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Council expressed dismay at a letter sent to all municipalities by BC Emergency Health Services regarding use of ambulance services. After undertaking a review of the Resource Allocation Plan (RAP) the letter stated, “BCEHS anticipates that more calls will be responded to on a ‘routine’ basis, more calls will be assigned solely to Basic Life Support and first responders will not be asked to respond to as many non-urgent medical calls.”

The role of Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support will be filled by First Responders, which usually come from fire department crews.

Rotvold called the move as downloading onto fire departments and council agreed to ask a representative to come and talk to council about the changes.