Council to Waste $47,940 + HST on Arts Centre Feasibility Study by Jamie Gilcig

Council to Waste $47,940 + HST on Arts Centre Feasibility Study by Jamie Gilcig

CORNWALL Ontario – Tonight council will most likely be giving out nearly $50K to an architectural firm for a feasibility study to create an arts centre in Cornwall or as many in our city are calling it, an utter waste of tax dollars.

The community has written cheques to out of town consultants before.  Remember Culturescape?  That wasn’t that long ago and cost between $80-$100K led by Denis Thibault and the EOTB.

That project has all but gone poof.  A waste of money essentially.

As someone that is wearing another hat and working in the Arts culture of our region, an Arts Centre is the last thing we should be spending on in 2015.

For decades there’s been talk about having an Arts Centre when in fact the Public Art Gallery has been a defacto one for over 30 years.   It has never been properly supported including this year seeing its budget cut to ZERO for a council that clearly doesn’t care about the arts and seems more interested in petty personal politics rather than what’s best for the community.

That the artists in the region lay down for this is indicative of the weakness overall of the artistic community.

The biggest issue is perspective.   Arts in this area cannot be looked at municipally.  It needs to be a regional partnership and funding between the counties, the city, and yes, Akwesasne.     While that’s a daunting task, the reality is that the artists themselves are the biggest problem in moving forward.

There are various groups and studios with many personalities.   Historically, even before I moved to this community 12 years ago there was infighting.   How many complained about former TAG director Sylvie Lizotte, but she kept her facility open for twenty years in spite of under funding and difficult partners to work with.

Frankly not a single penny of tax dollars should be spent on consultants until the Arts community puts its own house in order and warrants expenditures.

An Art Centre isn’t a building, but what’s in it, and who created it.     There have been many reports and ideas over the years.     And if there is going to be any money spent it should have the input and consideration of artists themselves.

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All of the proponents were Architectural firms.    What ability do these firms have in the true feasibility of an Arts Centre in Cornwall?  Building one yes, but whether it’s viable to have one?

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Again, no representation from the arts or consideration.  With all due respect not a single person in this group should be making any decisions on this issue including the Culture Plan committee which also has been an utter failure.   Those making any decisions or recommendations should be working in the field or have clear experience in the arts.

To clarify, hockey people wanted the Benson Centre.   They lobbied, they organized, and then the city responded.

That hasn’t happened in the arts.

Speaking of utter failure, YAC, an attempt to create an Arts Council with its boards rotating, no executive director, no real results after three years, and over thousands spent in funding, and no real vision or leadership in the arts community.  Essentially at this point its become a mouthpiece for certain politicians.    It recently essentially gave up and reduced its membership fee to zero which invalidates the metrics of having a membership for institutional purposes.

Again, with the city’s only real independent art institution, its 33 year old public art gallery struggling after seeing its funding cut from the city, could any serious consultant recommend moving forward or investing in an art centre?

The gallery itself is under utilized while other art groups clamour for space and funding.  Does that make sense?

A responsible council will vote against this consultant and hold onto those dollars to invest in the arts themselves.

Arts are critical to a community in multiples of ways, but it requires support and investment to make them thrive.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  Should Cornwall write this cheque?   You can post your comments below.

Disclosure:  I sit on the board of our art gallery, but am not speaking on behalf of the gallery or our board.

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13 Comments on "Council to Waste $47,940 + HST on Arts Centre Feasibility Study by Jamie Gilcig"

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Hugger1
Guest
I’d like to see an arts centre here. But not before all the “arts” groups get their acts together and act as one. There is no need for each group to pursue their own agendas, which has not helped. Aultsville Theatre is okay, but it is not an arts centre. I’d like to see something like Brockville has with the BAC. We have the perfect building in the Port Theatre that could easily be converted to a similar facility like the BAC. There is an empty parking lot beside the Port Theatre and a few stores beside the Port could… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I think one line in your response says it all….”Until artists can work together there is no need or hope for an arts centre.”

Hugger1
Guest

YAC, TAG, various artists, the city, etc. need to stop pulling on the same rope, but in all different directions. Until YAC, TAG, various artists, the city, taxpayers agree to all pull the rope in the same direction nothing, including arts and a potential arts centre, will be accomplished.

jules
Guest

Since when has Cornwall come together as one. I can remember way back when that all I have seen was infighting and nothing will change. A town that has no arts centre is mighty backward.

jerry
Guest
What an amazing waste of money, once again. Arts is important for a community, to grow and prosper. This is so messed up. It really doesn’t have to be bickered over, and made into a difficult and confusing subject. We need to take this city back from these “thieves”. That’s pretty much what council is at this point. Just taking our money and using it as THEY see fit. Not how WE want it used. Waste. Personally, I’d like to see a proper dog park built. With a fence, gate, garbage cans, water fountain, trees and play structures. I can’t… Read more »
jules
Guest
Jerry I am a woman of 64 years old and I left Cornwall back in 75/76 and when I went back because mom was dying in 1990 Cornwall has not changed one bit but instead went backwards. My mom’s neighbor who was from Cornwall lived many years in Toronto and then went back – sold her house and said that she had it with Cornwall. A great many people feel the way I do Jerry and they never went back. People hat my son went to school with (he is 37 years old and my daughter is 36 years old)… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
The disappointment for me is that we voted in a mayor and a slate of councilors to represent the taxpayers of Cornwall and rather than accept the responsibility they all apparently are more willing to leave the process to outsiders. When a group of want to be politicians cannot with their own intellect and experience determine what is best for the community then we have as voters failed one another in a rather dramatic fashion. How these idiots can hold their heads up and say that they are doing right by us is beyond reason. This town has suffered enough… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest

Admin you are absolutely correct in my opinion. Apathy is the root cause of the loss of freedoms and the cause of the demise of nations and civilizations. Holding leaderships feet to the fire and demanding accountability are the masses way of sending the message of disapproval. The message in this case seems to have been received and perhaps this forum played a larger role than most would like to give credit to.

Thank you for continuing to provide a voice not only for discord but also for unity.

David Oldham
Guest

Having read MacIntosh over the years my expectations of him are low and somewhat predicable, therefore no disappointment and no surprise. I hope that people like you and I will remind voters in the future should Murphy throw his hat into the mayoral ring.

Hugger1
Guest

It’s good the contract was not awarded to the pharmacy from Nepean. Now hopefully city staff can word the RFP so city pharmacies can get an advantage and ultimately get the contract for GSDL.

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