News — 11 October 2017

Published: September 27, 2017

BY JENNIFER PARSONS

Municipal officials have approved a new partnership arrangement aimed at generating greater supports for arts and drama in the community.

At the Regular Council Meeting on Sept. 25 council approved a lease agreement between the Municipality and Patricia Players allowing the local drama troupe to rent the facility on a monthly basis. The agreement grants “exclusive” use of the hall to the group allowing them to expand its stage performances and to further market the facility as a performance centre.

Patricia Players Chair Jamie Kristoff told the Northern Sun News on Monday night the group is “excited” for their new partnership.

“[The Municipality] has always been a big supporter of Patricia Players and we believe this will be a mutually beneficial relationship. We feel that this agreement will not only open up new opportunities for the Patricia Players but for other community groups as well.”

Kristoff says one item both parties felt strongly about is that although the group holds the primary lease, the contract should not stand in the way of groups currently using the facility or future rentals.

Reviewing the lease agreement at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 11 CAO MarkVermette told those gathered the proposal was an opportunity to explore other avenues for utilization of the building for municipal and community benefit.

“From a staff perspective we feel that there is an opportunity here. The hall has been underutilized to say the least. There is an opportunity to have a year trial to have an organization in there that is very passionate about what they do.”

Vermette added the agreement will net the Municipality approximately $5,400 in revenue yearly and will require the group to cover three per cent of the hydro expenses for the building. Patricia Players will take over the responsibility of Hall Monitoring and the Municipality would retain responsibility over cleaning the building after special events.

“They see an opportunity to expand on the arts. They see an opportunity for greater utilization of the hall.”

Councilors voted unanimously to approve the agreement after discussing procedure for rentals and the fee structure at their meeting in early September, supporting the opportunity to develop community arts programs that the agreement would provide.

“Some of our problems are that we are skeptical because who would want to do something for nothing,” noted Councilor Jack Goodwillie while expressing his support. “There are people that want to do things for nothing. There are people that care about the town. I believe that we have to give it a shot.”

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Jennifer Parsons

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