Outdoor performances in Blyth are one step closer

·2 min read

BLYTH – The COVID-19 pandemic may have halted live performances everywhere, but it hasn't stopped the organizers of the famous Blyth Festival from planning new ways to enjoy theatre.

North Huron council approved a site plan for the proposed outdoor performance venue at the May 17 council meeting, a significant step in the planning process.

“The Planning Department has reviewed the site plan with reference to the Universal Design and Accessibility Guideline for Site Plan Control. It is noted that the site plan incorporates consideration for accessibility such as accessible parking, drop off areas, and seating for wheelchair users and their companions. The Planning Department has no concerns with the conformity of the site plan to the requirements of the guideline,” states a report to council.

The purpose of a site plan agreement is to ensure the development of the lands occurs in accordance with the plans and supporting documentation submitted by the developer. It also states that the developer is responsible for all costs associated with the development.

Planning is still in its initial stages; many things are still being considered, including "a more robust drainage system and the hiring of engineers for all structures on site.

The report said that engineering is for “live loads and dead loads on the containers roof, anchorage of units, building permits for all structures including containers and meeting requirements of OBC (Ontario Building Code). The Building Department also noted that consideration should be given to safety for the structures when not in use, impeding the public from use, and Fire Department access.”

According to the Blyth Festival website, the Blyth Festival is a professional, charitable organization “that continues to produce the best in new Canadian theatre and tell the stories of this very place, to put this very region and its very real lives on stage.”

They continue to hold fundraising events to offset the theatre's closure. The most recent fundraiser was an art auction that raised over $16,000. Generous donations from the theater's patrons are also helping the venue to stay alive.

Theatre fans who want to donate can do so on the Blyth festival website at www.blythfestival.com or contact Jen Lamb (jlamb@blythfestival.com). Donations of $20 or more are tax-deductible.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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