Let’s have a plebiscite on the arts centre
I am writing this letter to a reply to a letter to the editor, published in the TriCounty Vanguard’s May 2, 2018 edition.
The letter states that it’s refreshing to see the town take the lead on a new arts centre. A decade ago Th’YARC had all of its funding in place to build pretty much the same thing at their location on Parade Street. They did not ask for one penny from the town, just a letter from town council showing that the council approved of this site. The town refused to issue one. We would have been enjoying that new centre for the past seven to eight years if it wasn’t for council’s short sightedness.
Also, the proposed site on Parade Street incorporated a parking lot that would be large enough for all patrons to use. The town’s proposal is to be built around an old house and will see patrons still parking on the street. The statement that our council should be praised at this point causes me to flinch. They want to spend $30 million or more on this arts centre (my money and yours), but at the same time are looking to eliminate four dispatcher jobs in our community to save a quarter of a million or less by the time you still pay for dispatcher services located elsewhere.
The main competing project is Th’YARC. They’ve been around for 40 years or more, so doesn’t that suggest that the town is competing with them? Not vice versa? The town council, if it had any scruples, should bow out and support the already existing entity. Forty years! Wow! They must be doing something right out there on Parade Street.
Maybe the location of a new arts centre should go to arbitration. Better yet, why not have a plebiscite of all residents in Yarmouth Town, Yarmouth Municipality and the Municipality of the District of Argyle? Let all the people in this area have a say as to where they feel a new arts centre should be located. They are the ones paying the taxes that support grants for such endeavours.
The letter was correct in pointing out the support of local government is es- sential to get projects completed. Where is town council’s support for an existing entity that has been quite successful for 40 years, drawing people from all over to this town?
It was also stated a new arts centre would be a showcase for the arts, would also contribute to the economic development of the town, enhance tourism potential and benefit the entire region. Let me ask you, the readers – wouldn’t all of this take place whether this arts centre was located near Main Street or a 10-minute walk away at the Parade Street location? Of course it would.
I’d ask more of the public to demand the plebiscite I mentioned earlier, so this issue can be put to bed and we can move on to build a new arts centre wherever the public feels is best; not the mayor, deputy mayor and five other councillors. With this much controversy and money at stake the public should have a say in this matter.
Brenda O’Connell, Yarmouth