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WAC and MY Place Society join forces

Two non-profit groups come together under one roof as of June 2

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Though the review of operations report recommended that other non arts-related groups that are tenants in the building be moved out to avoid confusion, at this point it isn't a realistic approach because there is limited affordable rental space for these groups in the community. For now, these groups will remain in MY Place as part of an in-kind arrangement with the RMOW, receiving space in exchange for light, heat and general maintenance.

"As part of our operating agreement with the RMOW, what we did was we took the spaces that they have been using - the iHost offices, the Youth Centre, council meetings on Tuesdays - and basically said, 'okay, this is how much in rent you're paying, so that kind of matches how much we need for maintenance of the building," Lundy explained.

"I think we need to max out on the space we have and then start complaining," Niedermayer added, smiling.

In the past, each group has had a separate fee for service agreement through the municipality's Community Enrichment Program. But as of June 1, the remainder of MYMPS's funding will be rolled into a new operating agreement between WAC and the RMOW in regards to MY Place.

"So it sort of takes on what the Millennium Place Society had with the municipality prior," Niedermayer said.

MYMPS has already held a meeting to amend its constitution and bylaws, making their operational role at MY Place very limited. But one of their board members, Sue Adams, will be joining the WAC board to help ensure there is a transfer of knowledge and continuity for the staff at WAC who are new to the role of facility management.

As of the beginning of June, the two organizations are officially merged to create one enhanced society that falls under the name of Whistler Arts Council. The RMOW bought out the mortgage on MY Place in March 2010, and will be responsible for maintaining the facility, while WAC will handle programming.

"I'm confident, I think we'll do a great job - we're programmers - so I think we have the capacity to work with the community and create a great program and create a vibrant building," Niedermayer said.

"We've been working in the building since it opened programming events, so we are familiar with the space and what's worked for us and what hasn't worked for us."

Both women see the merger as a first step towards making this "key venue" a real hub for arts and culture in the community. And now that the amalgamation is finally reaching its end stage, WAC wants to put the word out to community groups that they have a place at the facility.

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