Media Centre - News Release
East end arts facility campaign a success story in community-building
(Posted January 14, 2003)
Orléans, Ontario – One of the little known stories behind the
City of Ottawa’s recent 2003 budget exercise is how an entire community
mobilized and successfully lobbied City Hall for the establishment of a
permanent community arts and culture facility in Ottawa’s east end.
In an 18-4 vote during the City’s final budget deliberations last
Wednesday, members of City Council approved $9.1 million for the east
end arts centre in the 2005 capital budget forecast.
The arts facility project is one that the Gloucester Arts Council (GAC)
and its members have been pushing since 1988. Representing 53 member
organizations and numerous individuals, the GAC kept the dream alive and
continued to meet with local decision-makers, pointing out the
shortfalls of local “make-do” facilities and driving home the glaring
arts and culture infrastructure deficit in the east end.
“It took us 14 years to get beyond the studies and to secure a
commitment from the City,” says Gloucester Arts Council Executive
Director, Christine Tremblay. “There’s little doubt in my mind that the
Equality East campaign played a vital role in rallying the community
around this project, and successfully applying pressure on elected
officials to move the Arts Centre onto the City books.”
In the fall of 2002, under the banner of the Equality East Citizens’
Coalition, 58 community organizations – representing over 11,000
registered members and an annual audience reach of 300,000 – signed onto
a joint Declaration of Support for the arts facility project. A petition
for individuals was also launched during the 8-week campaign, garnering
over 1,200 signatures. This broad based coalition galvanized lobbying
efforts, uniting arts and culture organizations, community associations,
sports groups and businesses
“The arts community had a strong, well-documented case which clearly
demonstrated the need for this facility,” says Equality East Chair,
J.-F. Claude. “What the Equality East campaign has shown is that, with
limited public dollars available, the east end community can put its
competing interests aside and work together to successfully move
priority projects forward to benefit the entire community.” Claude adds
that the Equality East movement has quite possibly set a precedent for
other communities across the City in terms of moving capital priorities
forward in future municipal budget cycles.
While the Gloucester Arts Council and the Equality East Citizen’s
Coalition are celebrating their recent victory, both agree that their
respective advocacy roles must continue.
“With an anticipated $52 million funding gap in the City’s 2004 capital
budget, and a $25 million shortfall in 2005, Equality East will have to
remain vigilant and vigorously defend and protect all of the east end’s
priority projects currently on the City books,” says J.-F. Claude.
“The GAC will continue to work towards securing an ongoing fiscal
commitment to the arts community in Ottawa. In addition, the GAC will
have to ensure that interests of the east end arts organizations' are
well served in the design of the new facility,” says Christine Tremblay.
Both organizations agree that while they’re thrilled with recent
developments, what they’re really looking forward to is the curtain
rising on the opening act of the new east end arts center in 2005.
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Christine Tremblay, Executive Director, Gloucester Arts Council
(613) 749-4978 --
J.-F. Claude, Chair, Equality East Citizens’ Coalition
(613) 837-7950 --
The Gloucester Arts Council is a not for profit organization that
promotes the growth and development of the arts in Ottawa communities.
The GAC is an umbrella organization representing more than 53 member
groups and many individual members - offering them quality programs,
services and resources.
Equality East, an independent and non-partisan citizen’s coalition
founded in September 2002, promotes public and private investment in the
renewal and expansion of the east end community’s cultural, economic and
social infrastructure. By building a broadbased coalition of existing
community organizations and concerned residents, Equality East aims to
provide the east end with a stronger, more effective voice in city