"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, 26 February 2012

This Just In

I publish this one in haste. It establishes yet
another fact about the success of the Aurora Cultural Cenre.

York Region Artists received free space for their show this year.Admission to the show was free. Not surprisingly It was the most successful yet.They appeal to council to maintain the status quo.

They have found the mother lode.

The Town has sponsored and fostered the Arts community for fifty years.The pottery group had its first kiln in town space. The organiisations have grown to what they are today with community nurturing.

When the town hall was built,I recalled what I had seen Vernon B.C. and Whitby Ontario. We built the Skylight Gallery on the third floor to accommodate the artists. We didn't build a museum. We had the Church Street school.

The new library accommodated the potters guild.

The Council Chamber was designed to hold concerts. A Sunday jazz concert was held early in its inception.

Artists have always paid a user fee like every other organization.

As noted in Nancy Newman's letter,they have been seduced by the Culture Centre with free accommodation
and opportunity to sell their art without paying a commission.

The letter notes artists from elsewhere are joining their organization. Why would they not? Where else would they get a free ride?

So who are the fools here. Town Leisure services lose revenue for space built to accommodate these groups.

How fickle they are.

The Senior's Sing-along was enticed, no doubt by the same offer.

We built a beautiful new facility for seniors with rooms to accommodate whatever function they might visualise. We provide staff to program events. But the Seniors pay. Most membership revenue is paid to the town for services rendered.Admission is charged for special events.

Along comes the Culture Centre, flush with town largesse, to lure them with free space and free admission. Why would they not be tempted?

It is not their job to look at the whole picture and reconise the impact.

But it is somebody's job.

We provide a free building to the Culture Centre Board. We pay for all maintenance, heat and lights. We provide a slush fund of $356,000 which allows to give away space that costs tax payers every which way to provide.

No genius here. No imagination. No intelligence.Just free money.

As a Councillor,I have to wait for evidence to appear. I know it's there. I just have to watch for it and know it when I see it.

What burns my arse is; we have an administration that costs us millions. This is all going on under their noses.

Board chairman, Rob Layton states in his call to arms, he meets with the CAO regularly.Keeps him up to date on activities at the Centre. No indication he does not receive tacit approval.

So, new we know how the stuff outlined above was allowed to happen?
Was anyone in charge? Some of us think we know the answer to that question.

What kind of fools do they think we all are? How long could they expect to keep it a secret?

When I asked for the solicitor to review the culture centre agreement last Fall, the Mayor demurred. He was concerned about the solicitor's work load.

I asked; "Mr Mayor, why would you not want to know what you need to know about that agreement"

He did vote for the direction. He now acknowledges the agreement does not represent town interest.It's a step forward.

Have I mentioned before my contention nothing was done in the previous term that did not serve the perceived political interest of the incumbents.

Refreshingly, the solicitor understood his task perfectly. He clarified. He would look "for omissions and shortcomings"

It was probably the most comforting moment of the last five years. To know that finally, there would be no deliberate obstruction.

It took a little while. Research was exhaustive.It had to be right. The report was more discreet than it needed to be, but fulsome nevertheless.

It made council realize the situation was no longer tenable.

Tax dollars flowing out of the treasury have increased to total millions.

Now we know we are losing previous revenue as well.

The town is probably not the only agency suffering.

Aurora's churches and service clubs have traditionally provided space for community functions and earned small revenues for their ministry as well.

I don't need a consultant or a survey to know there's an impact.


Mayor and Council
On behalf of the Society of York Region Artists, I would like to offer our whole hearted support for the Aurora Cultural Centre. In light of the recent contract controversy, we feel that it is important for you to recognize the extraordinary value of the Aurora Cultural Centre. In a very short time, the staff of the Centre has created an artistic hub for our community that is unparalleled anywhere in the GTA. We are indeed fortunate to have such capable and dedicated people providing opportunities for the visual and performing arts. The members of SOYRA feel that our recent 25th anniversary show held at the Aurora Cultural Centre was the most successful show ever, and that was largely due to the initiative taken by the enthusiastic and hard-working staff. As you may know, we had approximately 800 people who came specifically to see the show. With free admission, members of the community had the opportunity to become aware of and appreciate the calibre of artwork being produced by local artists. The artwork sold benefited the artist, the buyer who now has an original piece of local art rather than a print purchased from a Toronto gallery, and of course the Cultural Centre. Local businesses, through their sponsorship, became better known by our guests. Several visitors even decided they would like to join our group.

Many of our members are long time Aurora residents. Personally, I have lived in Aurora for nearly 30 years. We fully appreciate how the Aurora Cultural Centre is contributing to the quality of life in our town. Where there was a cultural and creative void, we now have the opportunity to attend outstanding concerts, art exhibits, historical lectures and a wide variety of art, photography, writing, and music classes for children and adults. We know that on entering those beautiful red front doors, we are being warmly welcomed and that we will find something exciting to see and do.

Disrupting the current contract will only result in damaging the reputation and programing of this town treasure. Can we not find a way to negotiate a new contract in due course? Let us recognize the outstanding efforts made by the current staff to make the Aurora Cultural Centre an effective and enjoyable space for all.

Nancy Newman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a famous TV star used to say....