In 1999, a Chilliwack Cultural Strategy was proposed. Developed by the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation and the Chilliwack Arts Alliance, the strategy identified the need for an improved cultural focus in Chilliwack. It outlined the key social, economic and community impacts of a vibrant and healthy arts and cultural sector. Central to the strategy were improved facilities to host and nurture arts and culture programs and experiences for all ages.
In 2003, the City hosted an Arts Centre Project Workshop, bringing together key stakeholders to envision what a future Cultural Centre might include. In 2004, a Cultural Centre Feasibility Study was completed that examined the needs and preferences of the community and explored several options for improved cultural facilities.
In 2005, City Council created the Cultural Centre Advisory Planning Committee. Members of the committee represent a broad cross-section of community arts and cultural groups. The committee was given a mandate to make recommendations about three key elements of a potential cultural
- Research and recommend the best location for a Cultural Centre.
- Develop recommendations concerning the space needs for the Cultural Centre.
- Recommend a preferred form of governance for the new Cultural Centre.
The committee consulted extensively with user groups, regional counterparts and cultural facility planning experts. The resulting Chilliwack Cultural Centre is a $22 million state-of-the-art cultural facility located on City-owned land at The Landing, adjacent to existing sports and recreation facilities and Prospera Centre.
In 2008, the contract to build the Centre was awarded to Bird Construction Company and construction got underway with a ground-breaking on July 9th. The Chilliwack Cultural Centre opened to the public in September, 2010. The Chilliwack Cultural Centre consists of the O’Connor Group Art Gallery, HUB International Theatre – a 584 seat proscenium arch theatre, Rotary Hall Studio Theatre – a 168 seat black box studio theatre, 21 music instruction rooms, four arts and crafts studios, meeting rooms, and related amenities. The size and scope of the venue is suited to the needs of the community and the potential market in Chilliwack. It is also designed to complement existing facilities.
A Board of Directors was appointed in December 2008 to oversee administrative and operational matters for the Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society who are contracted to operate the Centre on behalf of the City. The Board of Directors hired Executive Director, Michael Cade, in October of 2009. The City financed the project with some assistance from cultural partner groups, service clubs, and private sector partners.