All About - Advocacy at Work - New Cultural Centre

Submitted by Susan Taylor


Exciting momentum has been growing within the City of Kawartha Lakes to showcase local cultural talent and our heritage roots, and celebrate our artists and creative makers, while bringing new economic opportunities to the municipality. Ontario’s arts, culture and heritage sector represents $23.8 billion or 4 % of the province’s GDP and over 301,000 jobs.

During the Summer of 2015 the members of the Kawartha Lakes Cultural Centre Committee, a special project committee of the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council (KLAC) and the Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network (KLHN), had the opportunity to meet with our City’s Mayor, Councillors and Senior Staff to discuss three future goals of the Cultural Centre Committee:

1. To promote the adoption of the Cultural and Heritage Master Plans recommendations through review by a new Municipal Task Force

2. To create a permanent position of Development Officer -Arts, Culture and Heritage, within the Economic Development Department

3. To explore the feasibility of a shared Cultural Centre/cultural hub

As of June 2016 the Cultural Centre Committee’s first two goals were met. In 2017, KLAC received a private donation of $50,000 to provide seed funding for studying the feasibility of a shared Cultural Centre. After the Cultural Centre Committee made deputations to City Council this spring, KLAC and KLHN will soon be working with the City to move forward in creating the Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire an independent consultant to carry out the feasibility study.

The purpose of a cultural centre/hub would be to introduce an industry-standard space or spaces that address the needs of our cultural and heritage organizations and provide physical and programming opportunities beyond what is now available for this important sector. It is intended to complement and not replace our existing museums and arts facilities located throughout Kawartha Lakes.

At the City Council meeting of March 26, 2019, Deputy Mayor Elmslie brought forward a resolution that City staff work with the Cultural Centre Committee to establish a Working Group to prepare the Request for Proposal (RFP). The resolution was passed unanimously and Councillor Seymour-Fagan and Councillor Richardson were added to the Working Group. In addition to establishing a Working Group, Council also approved $100,000 in funding for the feasibility study to be included as a decision unit in the 2020 municipal budget.

On April 17, 2019 KLAC held its 4th Annual General Meeting and Community Celebration. Mayor Andy Letham was in attendance to make the announcement regarding the $100,000 Municipal budget commitment to a feasibility study for a future cultural space model. Councillors Ashmore, Dunn, Elmslie, O’Reilly, Richardson and Seymour-Fagan were also in attendance. Councillor O’Reilly offered his auctioneering talents to help raise $1,320 at the event through a live auction. Funds raised from the auction will go toward the Cultural Centre Fund. If you are interested in learning more about donor investment in the feasibility study, please contact KLAC at