Far be it from anyone to suggest that BRAG (our Building Renewal Action Group) is dragging its feet! There cannot be a harder working, more dedicated group of church volunteers anywhere! But people are asking when our long-awaited renovations will begin; and the answer is: not yet.
The problem is not with efforts on our part. We have raised the money—over $1 million in cash and pledges. We continue to seek, and continue to receive, all the necessary diocesan approvals. Plans are developing apace with our hired architects. So why is there no shovel in the ground?
The hold-up is our attempt to secure partnerships through the federal, provincial and municipal governments. In fact we have already received a $125,000 grant from the Province for the installation of barrier-free washrooms. Another $50,000 federal grant application was turned down because of some confusion (on its part) over who actually owns our buildings. We will re-apply.
But we are stalled as we negotiate a partnership with the City of Calgary, which very much wants our project to succeed. The City badly needs “arts incubation space”, that is, dedicated space for arts administration, rehearsal and performance, and our project provides exactly that. But there is little precedent for the City working with a church in this way. So we are all trying to find our way through uncharted territory.
No worries, our renovations will happen. Plans will continue to be developed. We are just on a longer timetable than we first envisaged.