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Equality East Citizens Coalition
1612 Baie Verte Crescent
Orléans ON  KIC 3K2
(613) 837-7950


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Media Centre - News Release

City’s “Findings” report further confirms urgent need for arts facility
(Posted December 19, 2002)

Orléans, Ontario – An interim “Findings” report released today by the City of Ottawa as part of its East District Arts Needs Assessment process further justifies the pressing need for an east end arts facility, says the Chair of the Equality East Citizens’ Coalition, J.-F. Claude.

The Findings report, commissioned by the City and prepared by Sports Links Consultants’ Richard Lussier, states that the east end arts community is in “dire need of adequate cultural facilities.” The report also concludes that the former Cumberland Town Hall building is “unsuitable as the focal point of the East District's new cultural facility,” while noting that the adjacent site on Centrum Boulevard in Orléans would be “the most favourable location” for the proposed arts centre.

“We welcome the initial findings in the Sports Links Consultants report, but the devil will be in the details of the recommendations put forward when the final report comes out in February,” says J.-F. Claude. “There are still issues of funding, governance, programming, design and function that need to be addressed.”

Claude notes that in the last 10 years, at least four previous studies have all confirmed the need for an east end arts centre and defined its physical components: “The arts facility project has been studied to death. Enough with the paper-pushing, let’s have the architectural plans drawn up and let’s get some shovels into the ground,” says Claude.

Claude also points out that the east end arts facility was recently identified as one of the Top Five citywide recreational and cultural priorities in Phase II of the City’s Facility Needs Study. The independent study was conducted by Toronto-based dmA Planning and Management Services, a consulting firm specializing in recreation, cultural, sport and library services.

“The City’s current assessment process and the Equality East campaign both confirm the arts facility to be our community’s top priority,” says Claude. “We find it hard to believe that out of a $2-billion annual budget, there isn’t $8-million (0.4%) to fund the only project in the Top Five citywide priority list for which no municipal funding is being provided.”

The Equality East campaign for the east end arts centre received the support of 58 community-based organisations, representing a registered membership of over 11,000 individuals and an estimated annual audience reach of almost 300,000.

The Sports Links Consultants’ Findings report also notes that the east end community is “getting frustrated and upset over the perceived lack of interest and sense of urgency by the city in providing an adequate cultural facility,” adding that “the absence of any real commitment as to financing or setting timelines has increased supporters' cynicism.”

“Our four east end councillors have until the January 8 City Council budget meeting to restore our community’s faith in the system,” says Claude. “If the voice of 58 east end community groups united in a common cause can’t be heard at City Hall during a budget process, then it’s painfully obvious it can only be heard at the ballot box,” he concludes.

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J.-F. Claude, Chair, Equality East Citizens’ Coalition, (613) 837-7950

© J.-F. Claude, 2002