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Sep 18, 2019

Town and School District 68 partner to create temporary space for Waterfront Gallery

The Town of Ladysmith and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools have signed a temporary lease agreement that will support the continuation of the Waterfront Gallery and community art classes while ongoing renovations are completed at the Machine Shop.

The Town entered into a short-term agreement with School District 68 which allows the vacant Ecole Davis Road Elementary School site to be used by the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District for up to the next 12 months until they can move back into the historic building.

"The Town appreciates the support and continued partnership with School District 68 as we work together to find new opportunities and efficiencies for shared facilities use in Ladysmith," said Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone. 

"We are pleased to be able to minimize the impact of the Machine Shop renovation on the thriving local arts community by allowing the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery to be temporary relocated to Ecole Davis Road Elementary School."

The former school, located on Parkhill Terrace, was closed at the end of June 2014.  Town staff recently completed a full condition assessment of the building and determined it is safe for public access.

The office, gymnasium and two classrooms on the south side of the school will all be available to the Arts Council.

"The school district is extremely pleased to be able to provide a working space for the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District," said Board Chair Charlene McKay.

"The district has been in conversation with the Town of Ladysmith over the use of facilities and future plans for the Town. This is but one example of how we are working together to enhance our partnership for the betterment of the community."

In 2018, the Town was awarded a $1.75 million grant toward the renovation of the Machine Shop building at 610 Oyster Bay Road.

Seismic, building code and structural upgrades to the historic building started in the early summer of 2019 and are ongoing throughout the fall.

The Ladysmith and District Arts Council, which operates the Gallery out of the second floor of the Machine Shop, will continue to offer art classes as well as monthly art shows at Ecole Davis Road Elementary School.

"Thank you to the Town for all the work they’ve done to find us a space because it’s a hard task – we’re excited about the move and more excited about coming back," said Arts Council of Ladysmith and District president Kathy Holmes.

"We encourage artists to continue bringing us their beautiful art and we’ll continue to show it. We’re also going to take this time to revamp some programs and do a lot of planning for when we move back to the Machine Shop."

This new temporary lease agreement builds on the ongoing partnership between the Town and School District 68. 

In 2016, both sides agreed to have the Town maintain a community park at the Ecole Davis Road Elementary School site, which includes a playground and fenced off-leash dog area.

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