Monday, May 12, 2008

We coulda been a Creative City contenda!

Council's rejection tonight of Board of Control's recommendation to spend $70,000 on a performing arts centre feasibility study is small act of prudence in the annals of a city with a $900 million budget and a $300 million debt, but local taxpayers must find solace in small victories. At worst, the defeat will only defer the matter some years to a time when building a monument to the city's political egos will cost much more than the current estimate of $55 million plus land and operating costs. But at best, that will be enough time to defeat those politicians who conspire to remake London in their own image at everyone else's expense. It ought to be even enough time to accept that the private sector's lack of interest in building a facility is irrefutable evidence of a lack of popular feasibility, but then the idea of politicians commissioning a study in the first place is acceptable proof that feasibility is a different concept among them than most of us would hold. Of course the project has always been "feasible" in the political senses that someone else would be paying for it and that taxes can always be raised again.

Electoral feasibility is altogether another matter to them, to the credit of democracy, and Londoners on a constant state of alert for street potholes have to be congratulated for letting their representatives know just what they have been thinking of the added burden of paying for a performing arts centre, notwithstanding Coun. Judy Bryant's fanciful depiction of a lack of one as a "cultural pothole." Given that Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen was the only member of Council last year to oppose a feasibility study, the sudden change of heart by so many Councillors is due entirely to the letters, emails and phone calls of these Londoners.

Next time Deb Harvey, executive director of the Grand Theatre which receives large subsidies from London taxpayers every year, expresses surprise at Council's decision because "there’s been incredible public pressure for this," just tell her to actually get out in public once in a while.

See also:

Some cities never learn
Creative Cities boondoggle on the horizon
Kultur über alles
Assorted area anaesthetics
Creative invevitablity
Speed bumps
In today's "D'yuh think?" section of the Free Press…
You'll eat it and you'll like it!
If only that sinkhole had swallowed City Hall
$50,000 down the sinkhole


Jake said...

Kudos to council for this decision--I'll give them their credit when it is due. Unfortunately, this will by no means kill a PAC for good. Tonight is a small victory for taxpayers and a blow to Gord Hume's re-election campaign.

Tonight's decision only defers it until after the next election cycle so if the same bunch of councilors are around after 2010, then it will come back from the dead like Jason in Friday the 13th.

As for the councilors/controllers who supported the study, effort needs to be targeted for their defeats in 2010 if a PAC stands to be put to rest once and for all.

Honey Pot said...

Good, that nonsense is over. A city council that can't, or won't, maintain its roadways, is dreaming if they think the citizens will go for a PAC.

NIAC said...


Oh, you mean like the Shriner's Hospital?

Richard said...

I hope any more talk of a PAC sinks like a lead balloon forever and forever more. If you want to be culturally enthralled, listen to CBC Radio 2. London is fine the way it is. It just needs attention to the things that really matter like infrastructure and not feasability studies, reports, recommendation reports, etc. etc. The citizens of London are going to be outraged from now on when they hear about any reports or studies because they are finally catching on! The papers won't be able to dismiss it as a small voice of dissent either!

Doug said...

London is fine the way it is? You must be in your happy bubble somewhere west of Wonderland... While the PAC is not necessarily what I would do, London is in serious need of a shot in the arm to get it going. This city is absolutely dreadful to live in at times - outside of work and shopping, there's really not too much else going on. Which is a shame because the city has potential - the downtown has potential, but nobody seems to care. Or city hall just pays lip service to it, which seems to be the case.

A vibrant downtown is the key to a vibrant city, and London is losing out. Downtown is meeting place - it should be a place of culture. Instead, it rots and people avoid it like the plague, hanging out in the respective bubbles centred around Wal Mart on Hyde Park Rd and White Oaks. Essentially, what you can get in London, you can get anywhere - there's nothing in London that makes it stand out. Unfortunately, most seem perfectly content with that. The rest leave.