Funds needed for cultural facility development

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 10:43 am

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Dear Editor,

It is time for the Okotoks Council to increase the allocation of funds into the Cultural Facilities Capital Reserve.

The reason, is to have funds available to pursue the construction of an Arts and Culture Center.

If readers would check their Property Tax Notice they will see that the allocation for recreation facilities is over 6 times that of the cultural facilities allocation.

In years past the allocation for cultural facilities has been as low as zero.

The existing facilities; the OAG (the Station), Heritage House and RPAC provided less than adequate facilities for a much smaller community. Two studies were commissioned by Council.

The Culture, Heritage & Arts Master Plan (CHAMP) study completed in 2010, identified the needs, recommended timing and design.

The Feasibility study completed in 2012 showed that an Arts and Culture Centre could be afforded. Both studies were done on the assumption of limited growth. The lifting of the population cap and the plan to annex additional land means not only a need for more water but for better facilities to present our arts and culture.

The plan to grow provides a rare opportunity to focus on new, purpose built cultural facilities to serve Okotoks and surrounding area as we take our place in the development of Southern Alberta.

Increasing the allocation of funds will not provide all the dollars needed but will provide a base to get started. Remember, the bigger the down payment, the smaller the mortgage payments. Also, Council cannot ignore the potential for Federal and Provincial grants as Canada, in 2017, celebrates 150 years since Confederation.

If we don’t make an effort now to identify a suitable location for an Arts and Cultural Centre the opportunities will disappear and we will again have an unplanned arrangement of facilities.

We need to get a head start on upcoming development. I would hope that readers will contact members of Council and let them know that we expect this Council to make changes to the funding allocation so advantage can be taken of sesquicentennial grants.

The decision to build new facilities should not be ‘kicked down the road’ to the end of this Council’s term nor forwarded to the next Council.

Russ Wheatley,

Okotoks


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