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Nakusp collective aims to take over old fire hall

A local group is looking to turn the old fire hall into a collective space. - Alex Cooper/Arrow Lakes News
A local group is looking to turn the old fire hall into a collective space.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Arrow Lakes News

The Village of Nakusp is supporting a local group who wants to take over the old fire hall.

Calling themselves the Old Firehall Collective Society, Rosemary Hughes presented the group’s plans to council at its Mar. 24 meeting.

“The purpose is to inspire, nourish and support local communities,” she said.  “Our vision is to repurpose the old firehall to make place for a year-round market.”

The group’s membership includes Mirror Theatre, Nakuspinners, the Burton Farmers Market, and local food and beverage producers, said Hughes.

She said the fire hall would give the Mirror Theatre rehearsal space, it would provide a location for the Nakuspinners to hold their classes and keep their spinners and loom; and would provide space for courses on food production, storage and processing.

“Future focus (would be) on economic development to act as incubator for micro-businesses and develop a small scale food processing and beverage industry, with a collective commercial pitch,” she said.

The group has applied for a grant under the WorkBC Job Creation Partnership in order to get funding to upgrade the building.

Hughes was at council asking for a letter of support to aid the grant application. She also asked for access to the building and to start work on a Memorandum of Understanding with the village. Council agreed to all three requests.

In response to questions from council, Hughes said costs would be paid for by members based on how much space they use in the building.

“It’s shared among all users. We’ll also charge outside of that,” she said. “Say for example if we did an artist in residence or people would come and work with an artists, there would be a fee charged for that, so that would give us an additional capital reserve.”

Hughes hopes rent would be “reasonable,” particularly considering the upgrades to the building the group is willing to take on.

“This project, it maintains the building. It will respect the heritage,” she said. “There’s no intention of changing it at all. It was built in 1949. To repurpose the building in my view point and many people’s viewpoints is a good thing.

“Even if we were to shift 10 per cent of dollars back into the local economy, it will have an impact.”

 

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