Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation hold public presentation

Jonathan Parsons
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Annual financial report and harbourfront redevelopment

On Monday, March 31, the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation held a public presentation with the purpose of addressing their annual financial report for the Garrick Theatre and to unveil preliminary plans for the third phase of the harbourfront development.

Both presentations utilized the advantages of the large cinematic screen of the Garrick to display information and images. The floor was open to any in attendance for questions following both reports.

The first presentation was the financial report of the Garrick Theatre presented by general manager Melissa Boyce and chairperson of the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation, David Bradley.

Bradley noted that the goal of the theatre is to be self-sufficient as possible in such a small community, which can be difficult. But while the theatre is funded, it has no core funding, which means it must work hard to ensure its sufficiency.

Movie revenues were down slightly in 2013, generating $76,000. However, live venue revenues were up considerably to $81,000 from $57,000 in 2012.

One of the ideas brought forth by those in attendance was the idea of having the theatre be a seasonal enterprise.

Through new funding that was not present in previous years, the Saturday Summer Music Series had essentially a balanced budget, only spending $400 more than it took in.

The series will continue to grow in 2014, expanding to 18 shows instead of the 16 performances in 2013.

The budget reflected overall growth in many different departments including promotion and payroll.

The Garrick now employs more staff for more events.

With the annex now a live venue and available for rent, it is another source of income as well as an area that requires more hours for its workers.

Bradley summarized where he would like to see the financial report in the future by saying the sales revenue is where it should be, public funding should not be relied on as heavily and this could be compensated for with internal fundraising.

January was a slow month for cinema sales, and this was attributed to weather conditions, particularly this year’s harsh winter, which resulted in cancelled shows and low turnouts.

After the financial report concluded, Tom Wright of Tract Consulting presented the conceptual plans for further redevelopment of the harbourfront area of Bonavista. The presentation began with visual reminders of the progress made by redevelopment of the downtown Bonavista area in the past.

The current plan uses a similar strategy with sidewalks, grass and benches planned for the area stretching from the Harbour Quarters to Walkham’s Bridge.

The pedestrian traffic on this road known as Campbell Street is very high and proper walking routes will benefit both walkers and motorists of Bonavista.

One of the biggest issues is parking.  The current parking situation in this area is congested due to the fish plant workers and other individuals in this area of town requiring a proper place to park.

As part of the plan, a parking lot will be constructed across the street from the fish plant.

Similar to the renovation of Roper Street, the area surrounding the inner harbour will also be given a facelift with new sidewalks, streetlights and benches to be installed.

The design also accounts for easier access to the harbour, an added bonus for those hoping to enjoy watching the boats or just relaxing with nice scenery.

However, with a project this big, it will probably be split into two phases.

Bradley said the area from Harbour Quarters to Baie Vista restaurant will be priority, as the pedestrian and parking situations need to be addressed.

He expects the project to go to tender sometime in June, but it all depends on funding, so nothing is definite as of yet.

Someone asked during question period at the end of the presentation why there aren’t any public restrooms included in the design.

Bradley said that many of the businesses in the area have public washrooms, including Skipper’s Café and the Ryan Premises.

Also, it would cost extra to maintain and staff the washrooms.

The redevelopment plans put a definite focus on beautifying Bonavista and making it more functional at the same time.

The goal seems to be to make it a place where people will enjoy spending time, much as they have with the extensive renovations of Church Street over the years.

Organizations: Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation, Garrick Theatre, Music Series

Geographic location: Bonavista, Campbell Street, Roper Street Church Street

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