By Kirk Winter

Dianne Lister, Chair of the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council, and Susan Taylor, Executive Director of the Kawartha Lakes Art Gallery, made a joint deputation to the Council on March 19 calling for preliminary action on a Cultural Centre Hub for CKL.

Lister and Taylor said now is the time for the City to investigate the building of an arts hub for CKL. They pointed out the benefits of cultural tourism, and the fact that, in their long-term planning, the City has recognized that a feasibility study into the creation of a cultural hub would be a beneficial thing for all involved.

Most expect if the building is ever created that it would house the Gallery, the Old Gaol Museum and the County Archives all under one roof.

Lister and Taylor did not come “cap in hand” to CKL Council. The Arts Council received a private $50,000 gift that they were willing to offer the City to help cover at least some of the costs of the proposed feasibility study. They expect that they would need City assistance to cover the rest of the study, which would answer some very important questions including:

  • How much would the facility cost?

  • Where would it be built?

  • Would there be one large facility in Lindsay or multiple smaller facilities in the other communities in CKL?

  • Which arts groups would be involved?

  • Would a new building be constructed or could a City owned facility currently existing be repurposed?

Lister and Taylor want to act quickly on this study so that numbers are in place by the end of August. This will allow serious discussion regarding the construction of this building(s) tobecome part of the City’s 2020 budgeting process.

Mayor Letham and Councillor O’Reilly were cautiously supportive, warning the presenters that the timeline they were hoping for was likely too short to do all the things they hope to do. Councillor Dunn echoed those sentiments wondering if it was too much for the arts groups to achieve in too short a window of time.

Lister assured Council that they were ready to go, and that some of the legwork was either well underway or done.

Letham believes that if the arts groups could get the appropriate people together regarding the cultural centre, find out costs and come back to Council with numbers for the 2020 budget cycle, they would be doing well.

Council will deliver their response to Taylor and Lister as to what role and how much money CKL will commit to these preliminary studies for a Cultural Centre Hub at their meeting next week.

City HallDeb Crossen