Vancouver city staff are proposing a 2.9 percent fee increase for users of civic theatres.
These facilities are the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Orpheum, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, Annex, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, and ancillary spaces.
If approved by council at its meeting Tuesday (December 1), the rates will be effective from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017, which corresponds to the performance arts season.
For commercial customers using either the Queen Elizabeth Theatre or the Orpheum from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight, this means that from the current 2015-2016 rate of $17,000, they’ll be paying $17,500 during the 2016-2017 season.
For theatre rental grantees and non-profits, they will be charged $13,400 or $380 more than the present rate of $13,020 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Orpheum.
According to a staff report, the increase will “allow for the continuing need to subsidize the rates for the Playhouse and the Annex”. Rents in these two facilities are 30 percent below operating costs.
Staff pointed out that the suggested rental rates reflect a Consumer Price Index increase of two percent, plus a 0.9 percent adjustment for supplementary items like displays, tables, and early lobby access.
Staff noted that the city will lose about $300,000 if the proposed new fees are not approved by council.
Staff explained: “This impact would be from the increases in labour and other operating costs not being matched by increases in rental rate revenue, combined with the reduced ability of the VCT [Vancouver Civic Theatres] to continue to subsidize the rates for the Playhouse and the Annex.”