B.C. NDP promises funding for new film studio in Saanich
VICTORIA -- British Columbia’s New Democrats say a re-elected NDP government would provide $150,000 to help bring a new film studio to Greater Victoria.
NDP candidates Murray Rankin (Oak Bay-Gordon Head), Lana Popham (Saanich South) and Rob Fleming (Victoria-Swan Lake) made the funding promise Friday, saying a new film studio at Camosun College would draw major film productions to the South Island and create roughly 600 jobs.
The $150,000 would help develop a business case for the new studio at the school’s Interurban campus, while the actual project itself would cost millions.
“We have the skilled people and the stunning locations to attract international productions to the South Island,” said Rankin. “The only thing holding us back is that we don’t have the competitive sound stages. A John Horgan government will accelerate the business case for this Camosun project so we can start moving down the path to becoming a prime destination for production companies.”
The B.C. NDP says Victoria sees less than one per cent of the $3.2 billion that the film industry contributes annually to the B.C. economy, because the region lacks professional sound stages for large productions.
Camosun’s preliminary plan would include two 20,000-square-foot sound stages and one 15,000-square-foot sound stage – along with editing facilities, green screens, production offices and classrooms.
“When John Horgan talks about lasting economic recovery as we move past COVID-19, this is exactly the type of project he’s talking about,” said Fleming.
The NDP says the project would align with the party’s CleanBC program by using mass timber construction and meeting energy efficiency standards.
“The addition of a film studio in the CRD will be a game-changer for the film industry in B.C.,” said local film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert. “Not only will it create hundreds of new good-paying, green jobs but it will also bring tens of millions of new dollars into the local economy every year.”
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes also supports the Camosun film studio plan.
“I am hoping that a business plan will inform the province on the scale of the opportunity, provide guidance on the size of investment needed and indicate the considerable ROI [return on investment] for employment and well-paying jobs available for the entire region,” Haynes said.
Camosun entered talks with the province and a developer in 2019 to explore the construction of a film studio at the school. In July, Camosun told CTV News those talks were ongoing, with the Saanich mayor saying he expected a firm announcement on the project soon.