Council Continues to Waste Cash on Bank of Montreal Art Centre Building Follies. By Jamie Gilcig 022720

I swear you can’t make up this utter and complete waste of money. The Bank of Montreal building is not a former theatre. It does not have parking. It will take millions of dollars to create a black box theatre that will be a white elephant in a community that is struggling financially.

This is Cornwall. This of course isn’t just an idiotic council and Mayor. This is a circle jerk of entities that support each others messes at the expense of the great good of the taxpayer.

To date nearly $500K was spent purchasing this building. Its contents were back doored to an agency that Council Maurice Dupelle works for. (That’s a whole other story)

Now council has voted 9-1 to spend nearly another $500K for an architect to have fun and come up with a spiffy plan. Great gig if you can get it in a tough market.

Sadly not even $1 million dollars has been raised yet by the arts groups who really don’t need a black box theatre. In fact it looks like there might be less than $100K in actual cash raised as the city will not clarify what has been “pledged” and what is real.

Clearly the actual public doesn’t support this project. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want an art centre, but this proposed project is utterly insane.

You don’t take a building that isn’t fit to be an art centre and just spend, what will eventually be close to $10 million dollars to create a small theatre that will compete with local business.

That’s just not how it’s done. Cornwall has a few small theatre groups that apparently can’t afford to pay Aultsville Theatre or the Port to host their events. It just might be because the local public doesn’t want to fund their efforts. I mean it’s fun to perform theatre, but would I pay $50 to watch Paul Aubin or the equally talented Krystal Taillon (he wrote tongue firmly in cheek)?

Again, there is one real place for a downtown art centre and that is in our amazing Public Library building which other than the SD&G Council building is the nicest building in the community.

That it would cost about 1/3 to set up a black box in the Library clearly is being rejected by Mayor Clement and her council. And that’s sad, because those extra dollars could be used to create a fund to support artists and art groups so that Paul Aubin will continue to be able to inflict his talents on the community.

The other possible location would be at our other White Elephant, The Benson Centre, built on toxic ground which fits the irony of the fiscal drag that it is on tax coffers. You can blame same Mayor and many on her current council for that black hole as well.

Cornwall faces many issues, but honestly; this kind of leadership and buffoonery will not move this community forward. We don’t have to invent the wheel. We just have to look nearby and see what Brockville and Valleyfield have done to grow their cultural economy.

And we need to being back Lift Off without the corruption behind that was entrenched in it via the local Kinsmen.

The good news is an election is coming up quick and those that are supporting the Cornwall B2.0 movement have a good chance to flush this political turd of a project and bring some common sense to our governance.

For those reading with comprehension difficulties, this piece is known as an editorial. It is the opinion solely (that means only for those educated in Cornwall) of the writer and not of our amazing advertisers or anyone else unless they post a comment saying so.


  1. I’ve got to agree with Jamie on this one. The building is not a former theatre. It is in a bad location with no parking that will be required. My other problem with the building is how it was obtained. We were told it was “financed.” If it means a mortgage, then it’s something we don’t need. This community is struggling financially. Just look at our tax bills compared to a like-sized city.

  2. And now the sham Tourism Development Corporation of Cornwall, created by city council and run by the mayor’s buddy Etienne Saint-Amour, does an end run around Cornwall residents and rate payers by funnelling $100K to the Centre… back door style.

    The proposed Arts Centre building was better as a Bank of Montreal branch; you chose to put money in back then and got it back, cash with interest.

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