The Peachland Art Gallery has reopened. The current exhibition 'Elements' has also been extended until June 26. (Peachland Art Gallery - Facebook)

Peachland bat exhibit location up in the air

The Bats: Out of Darkness travelling exhibit is causing a stir in Peachland

District of Peachland staff are struggling to select a suitable location for an upcoming Bat exhibition.

As discussed in a Nov. 10 regular council meeting, District staff continues to work with the Bat Educational, Ecological and Protection Society (BEEPS) in securing a location for the travelling exhibition Bats: Out of Darkness, which is set to be in town from June to December 2021.

The ideal location for the exhibit is at the Peachland Visitor Centre, where the local bats roost. But BEEPS said they needed a secondary location for the other parts of the exhibit and they’ve asked to use the Peachland Community Centre’s banquet room. Staff recommended that council should support the request.

The Peachland council approved BEEPS’ request during the Oct. 27 meeting, but Mayor Cindy Fortin wanted to bring the item back for reconsideration.

Director of community services Cheryl Wiebe said the staff’s stance has not changed: they still recommend that the community centre’s banquet hall be made available for the exhibit.

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Fortin said the reason she wanted to bring back the item was that she didn’t realize the other groups that used the community centre weren’t consulted, especially given that once the exhibit is put up, they’ll have to find another place to hold their meetings and activities for the next few months.

“I didn’t have all the details,” she said.

“And the letters of outrage… were pretty meaningful and I completely understand where they’re coming from.”

She pointed out that several groups will be displaced, including the Lions Club, the town’s quilting group, a friendship club, as well as the Rattlesnake Island Swim group, and telling them they can’t use their usual meeting space for a few months didn’t sit well with her.

“I still want to see this display coming. But instead of reversing this… I would like to make a recommendation that staff work with (the various groups) to set up (at the Peachland Community Arts Council boardroom).”

“It could be a moot point… because there are more restrictions coming up and maybe no one will be allowed in there, but there are lots of ways we can deal with this without kicking out these groups,” Fortin said.

Council has asked district staff to work with BEEPS and various community groups to find a location for the exhibit.

Staff will report back to council in time for the Dec. 8 meeting.

READ: COVID-19: Costco to require face-shields for those medically exempt from wearing masks

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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