Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023

Editorial: New SIMS is a true community centre

Walking into the new SIMS these days, it’s hard to not anticipate the clamour of adolescent voices and energy, even though it’s no longer a middle school.

Excitement of a different sort has taken hold as the former Salt Spring Island Middle School has gradually transformed into the Salt Spring Island Multi-Space. It’s handy to be able to still call it “SIMS” and know the place we’re talking about, and its value as a community amenity is rapidly becoming clear.

As more and more groups set up in their allotted areas in the former school, the effect is not unlike the volume and harmonies rising as a stage fills with choir members arriving from all directions; and this new SIMS “choir” is wonderfully diverse.

Organizations and activities who have moved into the multi space represent vital aspects of island life: music, dance, visual arts, recreation, social services and more. Salt Spring Literacy is there; as is Transition Salt Spring and the SIMS Creator Space and Community Resilience Hub. ASK Salt Spring — the place to ask questions of local government and other agency officials — sets up in the lobby every Friday.

The Capital Regional District (CRD) emergency program now has a much more appropriate home. The Gulf Islands Community Radio Society has a new spot, and space is also available for by-the-hour or day meeting/workshop rental.

When the closure of SIMS was first announced, the future of the Tsunami Circus program was uncertain. But as our story in this week’s paper details, a partnership with Salt Spring Gymnastics in the gym is a boon for both groups.

While complaints will no doubt be heard at some point, for now it sounds like groups that have secured space at SIMS are just plain thrilled.

The CRD isn’t planning an open house at the facility for a few more months, but with so many activities and groups increasingly based there, a large number of islanders will no doubt see at least some part of SIMS before then, even if only to get a vaccination in a classroom currently dedicated for that purpose.

Thanks to School District 64, the CRD and its parks department, and enthusiastic community members for cooperating to fill a longstanding need of creating a true community centre for Salt Spring.


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