Arts vs. arenas

Dear Editor:

An open letter to Centre Wellington council members.

I want to convey my hope that when you are addressed on Feb. 6 (at a budget meeting) by Sheila Koop and Matt Ladner of the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) that you will consider supporting their funding requests.

This community enjoys the influx of tourism based on the arts community. People drive and stay in our community predominantly because of our arts and festivals. 

While I would agree that very seasonally there are hockey/lacrosse  tournaments, it is from the efforts of your artisans (some of which are shop owners) that the community of Elora enjoys a good looking downtown.

The sports community cannot take any credit for the aesthetics, sculptures, murals, studio tours, community theatre and exhibitions that are put on a great expense and dedication by the arts community. 

It is fair to say the sports community is quite lazy. 

Staff prepare the arenas and credit can only go to the coaches for the volunteer time running the teams.

Yet, we are now again looking at twinning the Elora arena and further financial dollars spent on the sportsplex. Our curling clubs enjoy a property tax exemption because our township owns the buildings. 

When will our township lift the $13,000 property tax burden on the ECFTA and recognize the importance and vital financial tourism support we bring to the tax base?

Which one of you council members will lean in and show support and recognize that when the arenas (sports) receive financial support from the tax base that the arts community deserves the same? 

Our Seniors have enjoyed a new $900,000 building; the arenas millions … now, what will you do for the arts?

Staci Barron,