Valley First

Bringing New Life To Penticton Landmark

Valley First and Penmar Community Arts Society bring new life to a Penticton landmark
February 12, 2014

Penticton, B.C.—Valley First has partnered with the Penmar Community Arts Society to bring new life to the former Penmar cinema; transforming it into a three auditorium theatre where the Society will present movie screenings and live performance events.

When complete, the revitalized landmark—which will be named the Valley First Community Arts Centre—will include a 650-seater auditorium (with a new stage for live performances), upgrades to the two smaller auditoriums, renovated lobby, new upper lobby, upgraded facade and expansion to accommodate a side-stage, green room and additional commercial space.

“Anyone who knows Penticton knows the Penmar,” says Valley First President Paulette Rennie. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Penmar Society to bring new life to this slice of our City’s history. The revamped and revitalized facility stands to be a truly impressive entertainment venue.

“Partnering with the Penmar Society is a perfect fit for Valley First. As an organization, we’re committed to building and strengthening our communities and have become well-known for leading exciting new initiatives and events. Lending our name and support to the Valley First Community Arts Centre is another great example of how we give back to the communities we serve.”

Jennifer Vincent of the Penmar Society is equally enthusiastic about the new partnership and the potential of the Valley First Community Arts Centre.

“Revamping the Penmar is a fantastic project,” says Vincent. “And, it’s terrific for us to have a truly community-focused partner in Valley First. Our goal is to create a community space which serves the whole South Okanagan and brings more cultural diversity to our community.

“Creating a sustainable business model is also important to us. Any profits generated by the centre and the Penmar Society will be used to fund deserving performers and non-profit arts organizations in the RDOS. For projects like this, I think it’s really important to work from a strong, phased business plan that ensures the Valley First Community Arts Centre will be self-sustaining.”

The first phase of redevelopment will see the amalgamation of two of the existing larger auditoriums into a single 350 seat theatre as well as construction of the performance stage, improvements to the front façade, an upgrade to the lobby area and the first phase of expansion which will include side stage and green room areas. Future phases will expand the main theatre floor seating to at least 450, develop a mezzanine area and complete the northern expansion to include new washrooms, office and commercial space. The result will be a facility that is usable for movies, live music, live theatre, speaker series and community events.

The improvements to the Valley First Community Arts Centre and development of the adjacent site are a compatible extension of the City of Penticton’s recently approved revitalization of the 200 block of Martin Street and the 100 block of Westminster Avenue—they are a signature addition to the City's “Entertainment District” plan.

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 28 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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