Cook named as Evergreen acting director

Cook to help board fill vacancies at City Centre arts venue

A past CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is now heading up a high-profile arts organization in Coquitlam — temporarily.

Last week, Evergreen Cultural Centre named Jill Cook as its interim executive director.

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Cook replaces Jon-Paul Walden, who resigned last month after nine years leading the non-profit group.

Cook is no stranger to the arts and culture scene in the Tri-Cities, having previously worked as the executive director of the Coquitlam Heritage Society.

The Coquitlam resident has also served on the boards of the Port Moody Public Library and InterLINK, and, currently, she is a citizen representative on the city’s culture service advisory committee and foundation board treasurer for Douglas College.

Cook has also been the executive director for the Crossroads Hospice Society and the Coquitlam Foundation.

She told The Tri-City News she’ll be helping the Evergreen board over the next “two to three months” find a permanent successor to Walden plus a marketing manager, following the resignation this month of Andrea Jabour.

As well, Evergreen is also looking for a front-of-house co-ordinator to replace Sandra Andrew, who is retiring after more than a decade at the venue.

“We’ll be busy filling the vacancies but, luckily, the programming is established and the organization is running beautifully,” Cook said last Friday.

During budget presentations last month before Coquitlam city council, board treasurer Andrew Richardson said Evergreen, which last year received a $816,336 operating grant from the municipality, is in need of a youth programmer and marketer (to promote and improve programming) and a fund development manager (to find new funding sources with businesses).

His total grant request was more than $1 million.

But several councillors challenged Richardson on the lack of partnerships at Evergreen.

According to its fiscal summary, the organization spent more than $1 million on labour and was short $46,104 on its 2018 balance sheet.

The city’s 2020 financial plan is set to be adopted next month.

Evergreen Cultural Centre is a 23-year-old arts hub located between Lafarge Lake and the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station, and has a 257-seat theatre, art gallery, rehearsal hall and studio spaces. 

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