Gabriola Arts Council receives generous donation for improvements to the WI Hall

Jim Wilson-Storey, President of the Gabriola Arts Council (GAC), announced today that they have received an anonymous donation of $24,644.30, designated specifically for repairs and improvements to the WI Hall building and property. The donation was received via CanadaHelps, a website that enables donors to contribute funds to registered charitable organizations. The donation came via their “securities” program, which allows donors to make a direct donation of a mutual fund or security at full value to the charity while being tax-efficient for the donor.

The Gabriola Arts Council took possession of the WI Hall property on September 5, 2014. While the building is in good shape and has been well maintained, it is starting to show its age; a recent and thorough inspection revealed a number of items in need of repair. The priority list includes a new foundation, repairs to the water catchment system, an upgrade to potable water, repairs to the septic system, electrical upgrades, repairs to the front steps and railing, installation of an energy-efficient heat pump, parking lot improvements, new insulation in the attic, and repair and/or replacement of chairs and tables. GAC plans to create an office space within the existing building, and also requires storage space for materials currently scattered at locations across the Island. Performance-quality lighting and a sound system are also on the wish list.

Executive Director Michelle Benjamin has been researching and applying for capital funds to help with all of the above. GAC has already received $9,100 from the BC Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development’s Creative Communities program, and $2,248 from the RDN through their Grants-in-Aid program (specifically for septic and water system repairs).

Benjamin says, “As many community groups and members already know, the Hall works very well as a meeting and workshop space. Our goal is to make the kinds of upgrades and improvements that will ensure the building is safe, solid, accessible and functional for the next one hundred years, while also widening the scope of uses and increasing the value for the community. This generous donation from a visionary community supporter will go a long way in helping GAC to achieve our goals.”

Donations can be made to the Arts Council electronically through their website or via CanadaHelps, or simply by mailing in or dropping off a contribution. Wilson-Storey says, “GAC is happy to receive donations at any time, and we welcome contributions of any amount to the Building Fund or to support our programs. Whether it’s five, five hundred or twenty-five hundred dollars—we will make good use of the money and ensure that arts and cultural spaces, programming and events are available for all Gabriolans.”

Wilson-Storey adds, “As our work plan unfolds, we’ll also be looking for community volunteers to lend a hand with planning, repairs, construction, building, painting and more. Watch for the call for help and please get involved. This community can achieve great things when we work together!”

For more information:

Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director | 250-247-7409

To make a donation electronically: or

Donations can also be dropped in the mail slot at 476 South Road, or mailed to Gabriola Arts Council, PO Box 387, Gabriola Island, BC. V0R 1X0.

To book the WI Hall for a meeting or other community purpose:

Liz Steele, WI Hall Bookings| 250-247-7409

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