With grant funding now secured, the Town of Whitecourt is moving forward with the Arts and Culture Centre.
Whitecourt in partnership with Woodlands County began talking about the potential for an Arts and Culture Centre back in 2008. In 2009 and 2011, surveys and group meetings were conducted that found there was strong public support and need for an Arts and Culture Centre in Whitecourt. In 2012, the Library Board conducted a report that found the library is undersized for the community and recommended that a new library be included in the Municipal Centre.
Between 2014 to 2016, Whitecourt and Woodlands County councils toured various Arts and Culture Centres to determine components they would like to see incorporated into their proposed Arts and Culture Centre. In 2015, open houses were held with community members and another survey was conducted that again determined there was strong support for an Arts and Culture Centre in the community.
In 2018, Whitecourt applied for grant funding and last month was awarded $15.6 million from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to go towards the Municipal Centre project.
Mayor Maryann Chichak says that Council this week discussed the next steps with Adminstration.
Next steps for the project include confirming a location, confirming community partners, re-engaging the Ad-Hoc Committees that were involved in the planning process at the beginning, an education campaign with the community that would include open houses and other consultation, and providing a council report.
Mayor Chichak noted that with COVID-19, the open houses could be held virtually. The consultation and council report would take place sometime in 2021.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $51,860,423 and would include the Arts and Culture Centre at $33,156,498, an Administration Building for $11,780,214, and the new Library for $6,923,711.