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Prince George group says the time for a performing arts centre is now

With a new RCMP detachment complete, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre under construction, and lots of upgrades to sports facilities for the 2015 Canada Winter Games under way, Prince George is in the middle of a building boom. But Ken Kilcullen thinks one major project is still missing.

Kilcullen is chair of the Prince George Regional Performing Arts Centre Society. He will be appearing before Prince George city council tonight asking the city to commit to building a downtown venue that can host performances for local and out-of-town artists. "It's an important piece of the puzzle for a well-balanced, well-rounded community," he said on CBC Daybreak North this morning.

When asked about the other venues that already exist for arts events, Kilcullen responded "There is a challenge of quality seats. We're missing out on performances... [people say] you have Vanier Hall, it's got 800 seats. Well, the reality is it's not been built as a performing arts centre. It's a school auditorium... it's not ideal conditions, it is not a performing arts centre that you would see in a city like Vernon or Nanaimo or in other cities our size across the country." He says the arts centre would be a flexible space, able to host a variety of different-sized events.

The estimated cost for the project is $42.5 million, but Kilcullen estimates after federal and provincial grants and private donations, the city will only have to pay for $10.6 million of the cost.

City council meets at 6 pm in city hall.

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