Thursday, November 20, 2008

Arts, Projects and Attendance

Everybody get artsy now

City staff have recommended to council spending $4 million to build a new arts centre in Guelph from the 2012 and the 2013 budgets. It’s not a new idea, there have been numerous discussions about making the project since 2003 when the city commissioned a feasibility study into building one. Now the idea is still in a very preliminary stage, but Ann Pappert, the city's director of community services, told the Guelph Mercury that putting it on the books, budget-wise, so that the project can move along from a mere notion to the road to reality.

And it’s a reality a lot people in town have been saying has been a long time in the making. One of them is Sally Wismer, executive director of the Guelph Arts Council. "It would be a space where the arts community could come together, a meeting space where you could drop in and see what was going on," she said adding that she sees studios that could be rented to artists, meeting rooms, rehearsal space, a gallery, a gift store and a small performance space as some of the proposed amenities. As for location, the city wants to use an existing building rather than build something new. Singer/songwriter James Gordon said that he hopes to see the current Civic Museum converted to an Arts Centre, once the new museum opens in the Loretto Convent.

City invites feedback for big projects

Speaking of the Civic Museum, an open house is being held at its current location on Dublin Street Tuesday so that members of the community can review, evaluate and give feedback about the plans and designs for the new location at the Loretto Convent. The material on display will represent the conceptual design, building renderings and site plan drawings for the main museum, Children’s Gallery, Guelph History Gallery, temporary exhibit areas, classroom and programming area, artefact and archival storage, research room, and offices. The deadline for completion of the renovations is September 1st, 2010, with construction starting exactly one year before that. The open house starts at 6:30 pm at the Museum on 6 Dublin Street.

Speaking of open houses, community members are also invited to review and discuss the conceptual design of Eastview Community Park and Pollinators’ Park at the northwest corner of Watson Pkwy N and Eastview Rd. The open house is part of the Public Consultation Process on the proposed End Use Plan for the former Eastview Landfill Site. This open house is going down in Activity Room #4 at the Evergreen Senior Centre, 683 Woolwich St. from 4 pm to 6:30 pm, also on November 25th.

Valeriote ready to receive you

Newly-elected Liberal Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote was finally sworn in during a ceremony in Centre Block on Parliament Hill last Friday. Valeriote is one of 13 new Liberal MPs that was introduced in caucus and inducted into Parliament last week, and already Valeriote is setting a high bar for himself. The former lawyer says that he intends to be as available as possible to his constituents, while being highly visible in Ottawa while the House is in session.

Now pundits will point out that anything will be an improvement over the abysmal attendance record of Valeriote’s predecessor Brenda Chamberlain. In the last session of Parliament, a month before her retirement, Chamberlain ranked 299th out of 303, or the fifth worst, in attendance, being absent a total of 33 times between January 2006 and March 2008. But Valeriote’s seat is not the only thing of Chamberlain’s that he’s taking over. Valeriote is setting up shop at 40 Cork St. E., Chamberlain’s old constituency office. The new MP says he’s ready to hear from you, so send inquiries through e-mail to or by phone at 519-837-8276.

League gets new Watchtower

Looking for the Guelph Civic League? Have you tried their new location? On November 8th, the GCL hosted an open house for their new digs at 10 Carden Street, conveniently across the road from the new Civic Administration building. In an alternative universe, the move for the progressive grassroots organization would have been ideal, had the new City Hall opened on time. But at least some people got a new office this month.

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