Opening the Heart of Tsawwassen

July 09, 2014

By Lukasz Jonca, South Delta Leader 

The Heart of Tsawwassen Amphitheatre project will soon be underway as the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen has reached nearly 100 per cent of its fundraising goal.

The concept is to create a functional outdoor amphitheatre at the southwest entrance to South Delta Secondary, to act as a meeting place for students and the community alike.

Delta School District Chair Laura Dixon welcomes the project both in her capacity as a trustee and a local resident of Tsawwassen with a membership in the Rotary Club.

"Really, we could do a lot more for the community if we were to open up the building in this location and make a more welcoming entrance and give a meeting or gathering place," said Dixon.

Even as an ongoing teacher strike dominates headlines, the timing here is actually fortuitous. The school district is currently spending over $10 million in seismic upgrades on the building, which makes preparing for a new project easier.

"Our board of education has been for a long time very supportive of more ways that we can bring our community and our students together," said Dixon.

Best bang for the buck

Soliciting feedback from the surrounding community, Rotary came up with a plan to design and create an outdoor living space for students and community members. The plan is to transform the south entrance into a focal point for the school and Tsawwassen.

A stone patio will replace the bare concrete that currently exists, while an amphitheatre seating will provide half-circle seating for socialization. New timber benches will be built and a canopy will provide cover from the rain. Shrubbery and trees will also provide foliage and a living green space.

Shane Todhunter, former community director for Rotary and its incoming president, is excited about the project breaking ground at the location.

“It was really neat because we were able to get a lot of bang for our buck on this project because the construction company is already on site the designer is already working on the building,” he said.

It takes a village to raise a project

Fitness instructor and Rotary member Rob Gillespie has been hard at work raising money toward the project, providing spinning classes where drop-ins cost $20 and the funds directed to the Amphitheatre.”

“The project itself started looking for $110,00 and we’re down to about seven or eight thousand left," said Gillespie.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to companies and community members for a short time. For instance, $2,500 can get your name on one of five timber benches, and seven trees will be planted that can be sponsored for $1,500 each.

“Kevin with Frontier Excavating has offered his services as a sponsor in kind," said Todhunter. "He’s going to be taking care of demolition and hauling off material away for us and he’s donated all of that which is huge."

Although the project is expected to have a community benefit, so far the municipality has not chipped into funding that has come solely from the Delta School District, Rotary, and several donors

When asked whether Rotary can expect the Corporation of Delta to push Rotary over the top on its fundraising goal, Dixon declined to speculate.

"We do partner with the municipality on projects like playgrounds so there's certainly room for partnership, but on this particular
project, no they are not," she said.

The Rotary Club is hoping for completion of the project in September to welcome the new school year.

1355-ssdslandscape-140411 from Shane Todhunter on Vimeo.


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