Let’s focus on creating resilient communities.

This week, I wrote a letter to the new Minister of Finance, Selina Robinson, asking her to consider allocating funds for civic theatres, like the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, who have struggled disproportionately during COVID-19.

Click the photo below to read the letter I sent:


Dear Minister Robinson,

Today, I am reaching out to you on behalf of the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre (CPAC), a municipally-owned theatre in my constituency that has suffered immensely due to the ongoing pandemic.

Unlike non-profit theatres, CPAC and other civic theatres are not able to apply for the Emergency Grants from the BC Arts Council under the current eligibility criteria. They also cannot access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and other employment programs that have helped support BC’s non-profit theatres.

Consequently, CPAC has had to lay-off 75% of its staff and is uncertain when it will be financially able to re-open. This performing arts venue is hugely valuable to my constituents and the local economy. For over 40 years, CPAC has been a part of our community, showcasing exemplary forms of creativity and wisdom. It would be an unthinkable loss for CPAC to have to shutdown permanently or reduce its services.

I hope that you will consider amending the eligibility criteria to enable civic theatres such as CPAC to benefit from the same funding opportunities as non-profit theatres. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this matter.


Sonia Furstenau
Leader, BC Green Party
MLA for Cowichan Valley

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