Council approves working group to research cultural centre for Kawartha Lakes  

By Lindsay Advocate

Deputy Mayor Doug Elmslie and roundtable discussions.
Deputy Mayor Doug Elmslie.

At the March 19 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, Council heard from Dianne Lister and Susan Taylor, representatives from the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council (KLAC) and the Cultural Centre Committee, who recommended that Council strike a working group to examine the possibility of a cultural centre for the municipality.

The Kawartha Lakes Arts Council’s mission is to “help our community discover, appreciate, and enjoy the work of those who create and express our culture through the arts.”

The purpose of a cultural centre would be to introduce an industry-standard  space or spaces that address the needs of our cultural organizations and that provide physical and programming opportunities beyond what is now available for this important sector. It is intended to complement and not replace our existing museums and arts facilities located throughout Kawartha Lakes.

During the March 26 Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Elmslie brought forward a resolution that staff work with the Cultural Centre Committee to establish a working group to prepare an RFP for a cultural centre using a qualified consultant. The resolution was passed and Councillor Seymour-Fagan and Councillor Richardson were added to the Committee.

In addition to establishing a working group, Council also approved $100,000 in funding for the development of a cultural centre feasibility study to be included as a decision unit in the 2020 municipal budget.

“The Cultural Centre Committee is grateful to the Mayor, Council and staff for their support in creating this opportunity for our cultural sector and municipal government to strategically work together to map a cultural plan unique to the collective needs of our community.” stated Susan Taylor, Chair of the Cultural Centre Committee.

“The municipality’s investment in the cultural sector will work to provide increased tourism revenue for our community as we are talking about investment in a sector that in 2014, had a direct economic impact of $27.7 billion dollars and contributed to over 300,000 jobs in Ontario.”

Staff have until the end of 2019 to complete a new Cultural Master Plan, which includes engagement with community stakeholders on their needs and aspirations for a cultural centre and the overall future vision for Kawartha Lakes’ cultural sector growth.

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