By Ida Koric, Rossland News
The Miner’s Union Hall is a well-loved structure in Rossland’s downtown core, and has served the community well as a venue for Gold Fever Follies, concerts, film festivals and dances.
There is a portion of the building, however, that has remained under utilized since the miners first conceived of it over a century ago: the attic. The Rossland Council for Arts and Culture have had their eyes on the space for years, in the hopes of turning it into a green room for artists and performers.
At the Nov. 25 city council meeting, the RCAC was granted their request for a letter of support from the City of Rossland, which will allow the two entities to move forward on a joint project, and allow the RCAC to embark on fundraising initiatives.
The City of Rossland has been putting money aside for several years, in the hopes of completing much-needed structural upgrades to the hall. The decision has now been made to join forces and resources with the RCAC’s green room project, so that common materials and workers could be used simultaneously in an effort to save both groups money, and shorten the combined project time.
“The attic [of the Miner’s Hall] is such a beautiful space, and our hope is to create a place for performers to change costumes, prepare make-up, and for somewhere to be before and after performances,” said RCAC member Ann Demaude about the project’s vision. “Currently, bands and artists just have to wait in the wings.”
The required renovations, however, will not come cheaply. Last year, the RCAC hired Nelson architect and heritage building specialist, Thomas Loh, to draft a plan for the space.
Loh’s historically respectful design has been estimated at $450,000; a daunting sum for any community group. This is why the RCAC was eager to gain written support from council, and start on their fund-seeking endeavours.
The first target will be B.C. Creative Spaces, which focusses specifically on the improvement of performance venues. The Columbia Basin Trust has also extended an invite for a grant application for the project.
Demaude saw the partnership with the city as a very positive step.
“We can move forward to create a formal plan together, saving taxpayer dollars along the way,” she said.
Demaude anticipated funding goals would likely not be achieved before the summer of 2015, but wanted the community to know that the wheels were always turning behind the scenes, and the project continues to draw closer to becoming a reality.