11th Councilor by Jamie Gilcig Rookie Politicians Talk of Turning le Village in Cornwall Ontario into Arts Enclave on Public Monies

jg2Cornwall ON –  There’s a lot of smoke right now as certain political types; mostly rookies with no comprehension of how the system works, about turning le Village in Cornwall into some sort of Arts Enclave.  People dream big when spending tax dollars.

Odd.  Le Village was at one point a hearty community; the French soul of a city with a proud French heritage.

Now it’s got a few pawn shops, a few tattoo places, and a few bars and restaurants.   It’s also got The Port Theatre; a 73 year old original Roxy Theatre that the Sylvain family have purchased and are in the process of cleaning up and trying to bring back to life.

The odd thing is that the only true location of Arts and Culture in le Village, The Port; isn’t really being supported by some of these same wannabees.     How many times has Todd Bennett been to the Port for any of the near 20 events that have been run there since the Sylvain’s took over?  Has Betty Healey ever stepped foot inside?  Elaine MacDonald?

While Arts and Culture are hot buzz words by some wanting to be elected they really aren’t an issue in the city’s life.  We’ve had an Arts Council and Committee for nearly two years?  They’ve sucked up tax dollars; but what have they accomplished?

The tax supported Art Gallery was closed for the month of July; our city’s alleged busiest cultural month when we have festivals devoted to eating BBQ Pork or looking for balloons over the sky.      Major events miss Cornwall, and most of those put on at such places as Aultsville Theatre (puffed up by nearly $100K per year of tax money) rarely fill the hall or break even.

So what exactly could be done in le Village?   Well generally poorer areas attract aspiring artists because most young professionals have little money or resources.   While that’s true here, in that le Village isn’t as expensive as Pitt Street or Brookdale, to open any space nowadays requires expensive utility deposits, permits which in Cornwall can take up to 18 months or longer (while paying rent!) and of course promotion.

Should the city spend tax dollars to credit artistic businesses?  Is that the role of taxpayers?   Should we create a red zone and give tax credits to artistic businesses?  Wouldn’t that open up a can of worms for people like OBO Studios that grabbed the space above the old Freeholder building?  If you give money to le Village should Tracy & Emily  get some bucks too?   Should the Grind not get some money too for showcasing some area artists and performers?   The Seaway News even offers up one of its windows to artists.   Would it be fair to dump money into le Village and not to those that actually have been trying to support the arts in other areas of our city?

Right now the city is burning nearly $400,000 per year giving monies out to Aultsville theatre, TAG or whatever they’re called  this week, the Woodhouse museum (which hardly seems open), and a few events.   That’s a petty large envelope and very little of that money really gets spent on Arts and Culture, or artists themselves.  It does get spent on salaries for bureaucrats and those that are employed to run the facility.

Should we be supporting the arts.  Yes, of course, with our own money.   Any investment of public dollars should make sense and gain something for the community.  When the info session that was held at Aultsville theatre a few years ago to form the arts council it was attended by less than 75 people with only tiny group voting themselves positions.   Does Cornwall even honour artists?  I mean heck, the city doesn’t even honour Ryan Gosling and he’s a star!

Artists need to bring something to the table that makes sense.  It should not be city officials leading the way as Elaine MacDonald has been trying to do by sitting on the board of Art Gallery.

There are many fiscally prudent ways to promote the arts and culture in our community; to support early stages and work with the community to help it grow.

Throwing city money at it, or pimping up a run down section of the city isn’t the solution.       Le Village is a part of town in flux.   It’s from a time and place that really is over and has changed.   It will be gentrified one day; but if you look at areas close by like Westboro in Ottawa, much of that change occurred via demotion and rebirth which in the end is what will most likely happen via the private sector in Cornwall.

So let’s stop baby politicking and if you truly want to support the arts; buy a painting with your own money.  Buy a concert or event ticket.  Help people like the Sylvain’s who are investing their hearts, souls, and pocket books and are trying to raise funds to bring in pro digital projection.

In other words put your money where your words are and stop spending others.   And as for those wannabee politicians I hope you make these kinds of issues loud and proud with voters so that they can decide if they want to bank roll such dreams of Xanadu on Montreal Road.

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  1. It would be fairly easy to enlist shop owners, residents and politicians to search what other areas / cities are doing, while they are on vacation. Take some pictures, get some input and pass on the info. Wider sidewalks, updated lighting, parking etc can be addressed when the road is due for resurfacing or major maintenance.

  2. Le village is the Land That Time Forgot . It did have it’s run in the 80’s .but it’s an area that has been in dire need of Urban renewal . It is also maybe one of the poorest areas of town . the residential areas are something to be desired … the Crime rate high .. and many building abandoned or falling apart ( closer to the river ) . there isn’t even bus service there after 9 at night , but there is bus service to the rest of the city …. Can someone tell me why? It doesn’t bother me that there are tat shops or pawn shops or used shops … it gives the village a simple charm that the rest of the city lacks .it obviously need works , and it’s time the area get some attention . since I do live here ( and have lived here on and off most of my life ) , I want to see changes ….. In the next election I want to see someone who is going to do something for this area .. have a plan to assist low income families and housing .The cost of housing is crazy …. i’m surprised we don’t have more homeless than what we see ( or don’t see ) .. better services to assist low income families ( more can be done ! ) give them some dignity .. educate them If they are employable – get them back into the workforce-.treat them like they are human , It makes me sick how some folks treat the poor .. like they were diseased .

    Police services have to be cleaned up .. this should have been done 25 years ago ! I don’t feel safe with them . too many double standards and yes the fact that good policemen and people go to jail ( you know what I’m talking about ).Unfortunately this towne has too many dirty little secrets …. the stigma of Past evils looms over the city .I guess we need someone like the Batman to do this .. but I’ll settle for Wonder Dog

  3. two words WARD SYSTEM everyone in the city would be represented equally

  4. i know the 1% of cornwall dont agree with the ward system they are the ones with the money and power god forbid we make them mad you did jamie i dont agree with all you stand for but it time for a change

  5. Yes Jules!….go , go , go……it does take a team ……and its a challenge to put one together…..Some friends and family came over from Europe not long ago…..When we drove through Cornwall ….They noticed and said that it was obvious that you could see where the rich live and you could certainly see where the poor live…..cornwall is devided by $$$$$$$$$$$$$……..Seriously now…how can you take anyone serious if they can’t even give their real names out here…..afraid to be bashed for what they say…..stay hiding like most of the cornwall population ……The Dunlopp’s got it right on the head…..they were bashed out of town…notice I said ” Town”………those who have forgotten them are part of the problem…….and along with hundreds of others…I say ….Cornwall is Pedville and will remain as is ….so long as people keep sleeping together…..

  6. Marc…….I use a pseudonym due to my wife’s job with the local municipality and I explained that to Jaime when I registered my pseudonym. Otherwise I would be posting very little. Some people have other and varied reasons for using pseudonyms. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush.

  7. Marc Carriere said “Some friends and family came over from Europe not long ago…..When we drove through Cornwall ….They noticed and said that it was obvious that you could see where the rich live and you could certainly see where the poor live…..Cornwall is divided by $$$$$$$$$$$$$” Well, drive into any city or town and you can tell who lives where, no difference here.

    Another prognostication by Jules. I guess we’ll see if she’s correct. Personally I don’t see any of what she says is going to happen actually happening. How long has it been since you lived here Jules? If it’s been more than five years please don’t pretend to know what’s going on here. Media reports and third-hand gossip does not do any city or person any good or add any value. Agreed changes must be made, but nothing happens over-night. And it isn’t any different this time.

  8. Marc Carrière you are absolutely right in what you wrote. Nobody has to give their real names to offer their opinions. I no longer live in Cornwall and never intend to ever. When I read everything that the writers of Project Truth came out with I cried because it wasn’t just about homosexuality but about children being molested and sexually abused. I lived on the poor side of town as a child and yes like your relatives have noticed you can tell the difference between the rich and the poor very easily. There are rich people who live among the poor and you wouldn’t know them if you fell on them. Even here in Ottawa there was a rich man living as a homeless person in someone’s backyard in a run down neighborhood. When the man died the owners of the house found over a million dollars hidden in the little shack at the backyard that the man hid. Many rich people do not dress up either in nice clothes and you wouldn’t know who is who. Important people do not boast.

    Cornwall is a mighty strange town indeed and there hardly is a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of the Dunlop family and such wonderful people. The suffering that the Dunlops went through was horrific. Even now typing this I am crying Marc – it is something that I will never forget. When I was in elementary school I remember the screams from the boys in my class who could not enter the church on the first Friday of the month to go to church and had to be taken out – those kids were sexually molested. A girl of 8 years old was sexually molested by her father and I remember her well as well as her name which I cannot divulge. A lot of what you call rich Marc are not rich but are people full of debts and live in houses that they cannot afford. My mom used to babysit for bank managers and engineers and others and she used to get an earful from these people about people living in certain neighborhoods who are deep in debt and live pay cheque to pay cheque and many cannot pay their bills. “All that glitters is not gold” and you live according to your means and even well below to keep the wolves away from the door.

    No Cornwall’s people will not change until they make drastic changes in their lives and this pedophilia is a mighty grave sickness and you are right in what you wrote. Whoever gets in as mayor is going to meet great challenges. Jamie is new to Cornwall and the hyarchy of the town treat him very bad and I wish that Jamie knew the Dunlop family. Cornwall is a very corrupt town and always has been for a very long time and the people have no self esteem at all and people left so as to gain that confidence and self respect. I had to leave to have sanity as well as the well being of my family. I cannot stand that kind of mentality nor could my family. There are some good people in Cornwall and that is true but in general they are the minority.

  9. Hugger 1 it has been 11 years since I lived in Cornwall and I used to read the number 1 toilet paper of record – SF but left that since at least 3 years. I refuse to read any paper other than Jamie’s CFN. Cornwall has not changed one iota since I lived there and that is the truth. I go down there every 3 to 6 months and the place is the very same. We have spoken to people that we do not know where we go and they all say the same things – no change at all. We are very friendly and laugh together knowing how the town is governed. The only way that things will change is when the people experience some sort of a mighty deep shock. Everyone is living in their own little world and that won’t do someone any good who wants to make big changes. If people are not willing to come together and want big change and not be afraid to go to the meetings and make those changes that will benefit the town then nothing will change at all. Marc Carrière was right in what he wrote. Hugger I lived my life in Cornwall and I know the mentality both good and bad. I lived in the centre of town close to the north end as a child and it was and still is a poor area of town. When I owned I lived in the north end. I like Ottawa very much and don’t miss Cornwall at all. Jamie is a very good man but the challenges that he would meet in Cornwall is something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  10. Marc Carrière you are right in calling Cornwall a town and it isn’t a city at all and mighty backward and has not progressed at all – not one bit. Cornwall is well renowed everywhere in Canada as well as some parts of the US for what it is. Way back in 1993 one of the girls at Cornwall’s library showed me Time magazine with Cornwall making the headlines with the smuggling and it was called “smugglers alley” and a nice reputation isn’t it. That goes to show you how low a town can get. If they posted about the pedophilia and everything else that goes on nobody would put their feet in that town except for the very worst kinds of people. I feel very sorry for the good people down there to live among such a bunch. I am in heaven here compared to what we went through living in that town.

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