Is it Time for Cornwall Ontario to Stop Funding Aultsville Theatre, CRAG & The Woodhouse Museum?

CFN – With the announcement this week that Cornwall Ontario has a $650K  deficit because of landfill tipping targets not being hit is it time to consider where the city is putting its money?

No, I’m not talking about about to be Former CAO Paul Fitzpatrick’s wasteful shenanigans and scandal.    I’m talking about why the city supports Aultsville Theatre to the tune of over $100K per year, or the Woodhouse Museum or even the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery.

All of these enterprises compete with the public with the exception of the museum.

Could the city have been pumping “rent” into Aultsville Theatre because Mr. Fitzpatrick is on St. Lawrence College’s board?  Could that  rent even be the payment for his seat?    The theatre is essentially the auditorium of the college.  How many other towns or cities support local schools auditoriums?   And as little as Aultsville is used those 10 or 12 gigs a year could be held at the Civic Complex which generates revenue for tax payers.

The Woodhouse Museum?  Why is the city giving up prime waterfront space and cash for this little used facility?    I mean, Cornwall as a city has shown its disdain for heritage.  Look at the Port theatre?  Where’s the city support for one of the last working buildings of its type in Ontario?  It’s being allowed to decay.   Take just one year’s worth of lucre from these three facilities and the Port has been redone.

image courtesy of Jacqueline Milner

With the success of Jeff Brunet’s first live event at the Port events in the 300-500 seat range can be filled quite easily.

Cornwall Regional Art Gallery?  The $70K or so per year it gets could be used for actual arts funding while allowing the few galleries in town and incentive to develop.

Should the city even be in the business of funding these businesses?   As the economy slides it’s time for politicians to stop buying select votes and using our dollars more soundly.

If councilor Denis Carr can close swimming pools because of “lack of use” should taxpayers be writing cheques willy nilly?

What do you think wise and thoughtful viewers of CFN?   You can post your comments below.

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  1. I do enjoy the Aultsville Theater.. I do not think the Civic Complex is great for gigs. .I went to a show Riverdance and the seats are uncomfortable etc… If Aultsville was bigger it would have been much much more enjoyable there

  2. Cornwall needs culture and Altsville Hall is necessary. As for the Woodhouse Museum it depicts life in the Victorian era in Cornwall. We have very expensive museums here in Ottawa and people go to them. Appreciate what you have. I remember going to the Port Theatre and I remember the old Capital and Palace Theatres as well as the Drive In and those were good memories indeed. I haven’t gone to a show since those days back in the early 70’s era. I can’t get the good days out of my mind because those are implanted for life.

  3. Wow, what an eye opener. I know a lot of businesses that would like to get in on this gravy train. I love the arts, but this is ridiculous. I wonder how much the tax payer is paying out to subsidize each ticket or patron?

  4. I am a boomer a woman of 61 years old and I remember in my day the theatres and drive-ins were packed with people. Today the prices have gone out of this world and people cannot afford it anymore. Arts is very important and I put it ahead of hockey rinks. What brought Cornwall down is that “tax mahal” that you call a Benson Centre built illegally on mighty polluted land that was not cleaned up and with illegal funds. I guarantee you that I would never set foot on that “tax mahal” soil as long as I live nor would I pay for it. The place should come down brick by brick and sold off.

    Industries who have left are not coming back at all. Everything is gone to the people of 3rd world countries who make things at a fraction of the price. Good jobs are no more to be had and eventually we will all be in the same situation as China, Brazil, etc.

    Brazil and Argentina were very wealthy countries in the past and they went down. The US and Europe are in big trouble and it will bring Canada down with it. When people don’t manage money the right way that is what happens. The Cornwall administration is spending where they shouldn’t like that tax mahal that is useless. The Civic Complex is a great deal more use to the public. Get with it people and stop these thieves from putting you all in the poor house. Those that wanted the tax mahal are living outside of the town and are not paying taxes to Cornwall for the upkeep. Remember those things when you go to the poll. I know so much more but will leave it at that.

  5. What I do not quite understand is why when there is a city hall downtown Cornwall on Pitt.. why did many employees get moved over to the Complex a few years ago… Those offices could have been rented out just like the complex is rented out. Would have brought in good rental as the view from those offices is beautiful!

  6. The Cornwall has always had a tendency to avoid the issue of its own transformation. In the pre-crisis era, there was no reason to interfere with a mechanism that was more or less working, especially when Ontario stability was sustained by economic growth. We had the impression that time had stopped and was under our control. There was no need to plan for the future because it was going to be a simple extension of the present.
    However, concluding that everything is under control is often the first step to becoming a victim. This is one of the more well-known lessons of history, but one that has still not been assimilated by Cornwall leaders especially in the light of the Canadian’s response to the crisis, which increasingly appears to be a recipe for political catastrophe.
    The major problem in our Ontario societies is the decline of government by political leaders, which has created a power vacuum. Our Cornwall democracy is dispersed and atomized to the point where political leaders have trouble deciphering the aspirations of citizens, which are also chaotic and atomized. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to determine clear objectives for a community of citizens.
    While the sense of dislocation between leaders and citizens has continued to grow, the power that has been abandoned by politicians has not found its way back into the hands of citizens. The Cornwall is a clear expression of this trend: not only has it lost its existing objectives, and thus become a land without a future, but worse still, for many of its citizens it has become the land of broken promises.
    With the dramatic increase in unemployment and in particular unemployment among young people, the Cornwall no longer offers the guarantee of a decent stable existence. The Canadian welfare state, one of the pillars of traditional democracy is progressively – and in some cases rapidly – being dismantled.

  7. There are large cash wastes going on at the woods house. There is a HUGE disconnect between the people that run the place and the average person that lives in the area. The history is shelved and hoarded there by the curator Mr Bowering, a person largely unliked by many. At least put someone in there that is passionate about sharing the history with the people. The 5 minute tour given by 17 yr old students is lame; if you ask about anything they refer to you to the curator himslelf, who never seems to be there. Maybe he is on another paid world beer tasting tour, which he blah blahs about if you google him. He has had it too good for too long. Get someone in that is touch with reality!

  8. The whole area of government subsidizing of arts and culture is a complex one, and in this context, it is useful to look into what percentage of the budget of the government concerned goes towards this purpose.
    In this regard, my impression is that the municipality of Cornwall does not devote a relatively high proportion of its overall budget to arts and culture, when compared with other municipalities in developed countries or other levels of government around the world.
    My impression is also that all three facilities mentioned are much appreciated by a considerable sector of the local population and make a significant contribution towards making Cornwall a pleasant and attractive place to live.

  9. The Wood House Museum = Cornwall like it or not needs a Museum and were stuck with what we have it could have been done much better & much cheaper . Two examples = The rear Brick part should never have been moved as it was and still is crooked the contractor had to build a crooked foundation to set bldg on . Next check out basement & steps to get there poor planning indeed . It serves no purpose now to point a finger at our gullible city fathers at that time & or the sharp historical society who managed to get what they wanted Knowing full well that when this Bldg was moved it was entirely the Citys problem not there problem . Seems to me the taxpayers got the shaft & can do nothing about it ,

  10. Believe Me, I think we should be grateful that the city decided to preserve at least some of our history, as flawed as it is. Usually they just like to tear old buildings down for the sake of some developer’s pocket.

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