Cornwall Ontario – I’d like those of you that read this that actually care about the arts locally to think about this. Digest it. Taste it like a fine wine please.
The City of Cornwall, led by Mayor Bernadette Clement and “her girls” will spend about the same money this year keeping the Bank of Montreal building empty than the city spent keeping the former Public Art Gallery open.
That’s mystifying. It’s a tribute to the lack of cultural life of this community. Recent media reports stated that gosh darn, about $70K were pledged and raised. Pledges of course mean nothing unless the cash shows up.
It’s also no surprise since the Art Gallery closed in 2016 and before that even, that large amounts of cash were required to be raised, but a lack of leadership in the art community have led to a farcical situation that saw “the girls” lead the charge to buy an empty dated bank building and propose spending over ten times its purchase price to turn it into an art centre that had no real chance of being a true art centre as it simply doesn’t have the walls to really work.
When you’re paid a Sunshine List salary there are expectations of being aware of what’s going on in your field. When Cornwall Square was recently sold for the fire sale price of about $8.5M the question asked by many was why wasn’t the city in on the deal? For one City Hall and the Civic Complex staff could be placed in one facility with plenty of space to spare for say… an art centre.
Many have complained about the manner in which the bank purchase was resolved, in the shadows, without public consultation or real notice. Many more have complained about the utterly ridiculous plans laid out so far for development of the bank.
Nothing about this project seems focused on art? It seems to be one big vanity circle jerk on your and my dime, and frankly that’s abusive in this writer’s opinion.
The bottom line is that the taxpayer is footing the bill for this circus and sadly will for most of the next four years.
Fiscal sanity does not appear to be in the vocabulary of this council and current leading city management and that means more woe financially for the residents and taxpayers of Cornwall.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.