Council has been getting a lot of emails this week about the Centre for Creative Arts.
It's all in response to thisrequest for funding to cover an operating deficit.
I'm always really happy when people feel passionate enough about something that they are willing to get involved and speak up for it. There's been quite a bit of this lately which is great - we've seen in this term a lot more than in the past two, specifically with Crime Prevention and with the Aquatics Centre.
One thing that happens sometimes is that people write notes without recognizing all the facts. That's ok because it's the job of council members like me to know all the facts. You (the public) are supposed tell me what you think and what you believe in, that helps me base my decisions on the desires of the community. This is the kind of dialogue that we should be able to have with our elected officials.
For my part of that dialogue I also like to be able to inform people on what is currently happening that they might not have known all the details of. My hope is that after we've spoken I'll know how they feel and they'll know the facts of what is happening.
So in that vein here is a copy of the note I've sent to a couple of the people who have written in support of additional funding for the Centre:
"Thanks for your note,
I've been a supporter of the Centre for quite a while so I'm concerned about it's security and ability to continue to operate, just as you are. Two of the specific areas where I've supported the Centre at the council table are;
• The renovation that is currently under way. This project is currently budgeted at just under $1 Million to retrofit all the mechanical and electrical systems, plus add an elevator for improved access to the whole building. The funding for this is 100% city dollars.
• The increased operating grant to the Centre in the 2008 -10 budget. I was totally supportive of moving the grant up from about $47, 000 to just over $80, 000 per year.
Additionally of course the Centre pays no rent to the city for the use of the building. The concept of course is that if there's no rent they will have the ability to put any money earned back into the operations. The city also does this for a number of community groups like the Live Theater, which has received no other operating dollars from the city (that I'm aware of) before this year.
So, just to be clear I believe the city does support the Centre. Of course if there is additional information to consider in light of the move to the old RCMP building then I'm happy to have it come forward so Council can make a decision. I want to see the Centre for Creative Arts healthy and ready to fill the renovated building with all the activity and vibrancy it provided our community before.
Thanks again for taking the time to write and support the Centre!
I'll take your opinion into account when we get to vote on it.