Chatham-Kent’s new cultural roadmap was laid out for the new council at Monday night’s meeting.
Evelyn Bish, director of community services, provided a presentation discussing key points from the 30-plus recommendations from the Chatham-Kent cultural plan implementation project.
Bish said the plan includes more of structured network, moving away from the CreateCK strategy.
For the Chatham Cultural Centre, Bish said staff will investigate additional storage for the facility, with the former Cinema 6 on King Street East as a possible location.
Staff is also recommending that the 42-year-old seats be replaced in the Kiwanis Theatre.
Bish said this move would reduce seats in the theatre from 638 to 400, but it would make it more accessible and provide a “fuller house,” which would increase the quality of experience.
Bish said changing the name of the Kiwanis Theatre would be explored as well, which would help differentiate it from the Capitol Theatre.
Staff is recommending that the entrance for the box office be moved to the museum and gallery entrance.
Bish said this would be better for customer service and better for accommodation.
The report also recommended hiring a facility booking co-ordinator at a price tag of $65,500. Bish said the cost of this would be covered through an increase in ticket handling fees at the Kiwanis Theatre and savings from a service review.
She said the majority of funding in the report, which totals $544,612, would come from reserves, and each item would come back to council.
“No new tax dollars are being asked for at this time,” Bish said.
Before moving the recommendations for approval, Chatham Coun. Derek Robertson commended staff for a good report.
“I feel like I’m in the minority tonight,” he said. “I’m comfortable with the plan. I think this is a good use of funds.”
West Kent Coun. Bryon Fluker made a successful amendment to Robertson’s motion, shifting a number of items regarding the Kiwanis Theatre, Studio One and the box office be moved to the budget deliberations.
East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault entered an unsuccessful motion to move all of the financial aspects of the report to the 2015 budget.
“All the financial aspects of this should go to the 2015 budget … this is the responsible thing to do,” he said. “There will be competing projects. We’re just going to be dealing with a whirlwind.”
South Kent Coun. Karen Herman said she was not happy with the report.
“I’m not feeling like all of Chatham-Kent is working together on a cultural plan,” she said. “We’re not even talking about black history or culinary tourism. This is missing something for me and all of Chatham-Kent to address cultural needs.”
Bish added this plan is just a starting point.
“Look at this as a spring board for things that need to come,” she said.