The Steinbach Arts Council has not given up on getting a performing arts centre. Board chair Graham Pollock and Chief Creative Officer Cindi Rempel Patrick met with city council in committee Tuesday night and discussed the matter for the first time since the project was cancelled by the city at the end of June due to a lack of federal and provincial funding. Pollock told council they were very disappointed in that announcement. But he adds they still have hope and explains why.
"City council made a decision to make the performing arts centre a priority back two years ago. They made it a priority because they recognized there was an inherent need in this area for a facility such as that. That need hasn't been filled. Nothing has changed from our perspective, other than the project that initially was being looked at is not going to happen. So now let's move forward and, What can we make happen?'
Pollock asked city council whether a performing arts centre is still a possibility. He says they didn't get 'no' for an answer.
"That was really the point of my question: What does the city have in mind in terms of a cultural/recreation facility because they're the ones that made it a priority."
Mayor Chris Goertzen says city council is currently in a period of listening and reflection.
"For now, council is sitting back and listening. We're listening to different user groups, we're listening to different business people on what they want to see for the city when it comes to recreation and culture. It's important to hear from them. At the same time, council, as we move through the budget process for this next year, will decide where we're heading when it comes to renewing recreation and culture facilities."
He adds that process will take some time. Goertzen also notes the federal government has indicated it will only be next March 31st when it hopes to conclude a deal with the provincial government to proceed with funding announcements for the coming 10 years so there is some time to work on a plan.
Pollock says he was pleased to hear the concept of a performing arts centre is not dead.
"I think I got the sense from the Mayor that it certainly was going to be something that they were certainly going to discuss. Obviously, the dollars and cents are something we're starting at the beginning again. But I think that it is certainly not a dead issue for us. It's a project that we still believe in and we believe that it's going to happen. It just may not happen in the way we were looking at initially. But I think it will still happen."