Gabriola Arts Council launches new building project

The Gabriola Arts Council (GAC) is launching the second phase of our Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre building project. We have confirmed our participation in a 28-week Job Creation Partnership Project (a BC government-sponsored initiative) that will enable us to hire three full-time workers and one supervisor. The program is designed to teach valuable skills, and for the workers to build networks that will be useful in future jobs. GAC’s three new workers will be hands-on with a wide variety of building and building-related tasks—from carpentry and foundation work, to electrical and finishing work, as well as roofing, landscaping, and more. They will work under the full-time supervision of Tim Van Wieren (a Red Seal-certified journeyman carpenter and certified mobile equipment safety trainer with more than thirty years in the building trades), and with the participation and mentorship of a number of other experienced tradespeople.

The three project participants—long-time Gabriolans Maya Ruggles and Todd Bernard, and new-to-the-Island Jade Evoy—are all excited to be working on this important community project, while also learning valuable skills and making new connections on Gabriola. The project begins on Monday, June 11 and runs until the first week in December.

As announced previously, GAC has received a donation of a log building from the Island School of Building Arts (ISBA). This hand-hewn structure—the log pieces have been cut, notched, and are ready to go—will be built on the northeast corner of the GAC parking lot. The logs have been prepared by ISBA students. Once the GAC team has prepared the site and constructed a post-and-pier foundation, the logs will be transported by truck to the GAC property, where they will be assembled into a 16’ x 24’ structure. The GAC team will also install the roof, windows, doors, a porch with wheelchair ramp, and all interior elements, including electrical wiring.

The JCP provides financial support for much of the material required for the project, including work clothes, gear, and tools for the participants; general site tools; building materials; and more. GAC is contributing to the project through funds raised through the Jack Pine Cabin Fund, in memory of GAC director, building project visionary and artist, the late Jeff Molloy.

Pat Rokosh, ISBA Manager, says, “This is a fantastic partnership. ISBA is happy to be supporting the Arts Council’s work in the community while showcasing the high-quality craftsmanship demonstrated by our students.” Charlie Cheffins, GAC’s President, agrees, “The whole community benefits: ISBA will have a highly visible building that shows off their students’ work; we’ll be providing paid, meaningful employment for four people for a good part of a year; and GAC will gain much-needed working and storage space, while keeping the Arts & Heritage Centre as an accessible community space for exhibits, meetings, classes, performances, rehearsals, and workshops.”

GAC’s previous construction project—the upgrade and renovation of the Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre, completed in October 2017—was considered a success at every level. Participating workers have found appropriate employment opportunities, local businesses received a significant benefit as providers of materials, and the completed building is a valued and well-used community asset.


For more information:
Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director | 250-247-7409

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