Film studios planned for curling rink and Civic Arena in off-season

City of Nelson has received a grant to assist Kootenay film industry
On set of the Hallmark film, Love in Glacier National Park: A National Park Romance, filmed at Fernie Alpine Resort in November-December 2022.

Nelson City Council at its July 2 meeting discussed converting the curling rink and the Civic Arena into studios and offices for the film industry in the off-season.

Earlier, at council's April 23 meeting, Community Futures Central Kootenay asked council to consider making the two city-owned spaces available. One of the goals is to advance the Kootenays as a film production hub.

The April presentation included preliminary conceptual plans for the use of the space.

Since then, the City of Nelson has received an $80,000 grant through the province's Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) to design and plan studios and production offices. Cover Architecture is currently carrying out preliminary design work.

One of the options will be to install a concrete floor in the curling rink building. Possibilities for use of the building outside curling season have always been limited by its earth floor.

A 2023, Community Futures published a study entitled Developing the Regional Kootenay Film Sector. It identified a number of challenges to the local development of the industry, including lack of industry infrastructure and the need for investment in infrastructure.

At the July 2 meeting, council agreed to negotiate a cost-sharing agreement with Community Futures to continue planning and designing the facilities. City manager Kevin Cormack said no work would happen this year because of the current renovation work on the Civic Centre.

After the planning is completed, the construction work would require an additional REDIP grant.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated Kootenay Regional Film Commission has been part of this initiative. It has so far only been led by Community Futures at city hall.

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Portdanielpress since 2015.
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