$2500 and a HUG was all the cultural community could pull out of a budget committee.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 6, 2012  The culture mavens gave it their very best shot.  Barbara Teatero, Executive Director Museums Burlington, stood at the podium delivering a delegation on why the city should come up with $20,000 to support a collaborative efforts pilot project involving the Burlington Arts Centre, The Performing Arts Centre, Royal Botanical Gardens, Museum, Library and Tourism that would result in a web site that would create a brand for the city’s cultural destinations.  There was going to be more than a web site but that seemed to be the focus of her comments and the thing that council members couldn’t get beyond.  Weren’t there already enough web sites out there?

Burlington Art Centre Ian Ross assuring Librarian Maureen Barry that all will be well in the cultural worlds - eventually.

Burlington Art Centre Executive Director Ian Ross stood quietly beside Teatero as she made her presentation and proved that the two were no tag team.  Ross didn’t get to say a word – perhaps he should have spoken.  He did during the questions but didn’t have much in the way of a reply when asked what would happen if the group did not get the funding.

Almost everyone on council had their finger in this pie though. Councillor Craven wanted originally to approve a one-time expenditure of $5000., but he withdrew the request.  Taylor was quite prepared to give the Open Doors group $5000 provided the City Managers budget was reduced by $5000 but he too withdrew his request.

Councillor Sharman put forward the request for the $20,000 but wasn’t able to convince his fellow Council members that this was a wise expenditure at this time.

Teatero explained that the objective was to tie into the “culture as a business” view that is floating through the municipal sector.  She said 700 towns in Ontario have a Culture Day and that the objective for the pilot project was to create a collective identification for the cultural interests in Burlington;  harness the inherent synergy between the different agencies and get some interactivity so that people who visit the Art Centre to look at collections there also get made aware of the Joseph Brant Museum and its offerings.  Culture and heritage were going to be turned into Siamese twins – joined at the hip.

Councillor Meed Ward wanted to know “what would prevent you from doing that with what you have”.  The point Teatero wanted to make was that they didn’t have the money they were asking for.

The city has just put out a Request for Proposals for the development of a Cultural Master Plan and the thinking around the council table was that nothing should be done in terms of creating synergies or developing identities until there was a master plan in place.

Burlington is close to awash with Master Plans.  The transit people are working through theirs, which Councillor Taylor doesn’t think is going to go much further than the five has already seen during his 20 plus years on council.  There is a Beachway Master Plan being worked up – the most current iteration of that plan is a follow up on work that started in 1987.

Barbara Teatero, Executive Director Museums Burlington

To be fair to this planning business, the Spencer Smith Park and the Discovery Centre are the result of good planning.  We at Our Burlington cannot wait for the warm summer evenings to arrive where we can sit on the veranda at Spencer’s and take in a sunset with chilled white wine. But I digress.

The request was for one time funding of $20,000 – didn’t make it but the $2500 as ongoing funding for the Doors Open program supervised by the Heritage Umbrella Group – HUG did make it.

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