Saturday, February 28, 2009

That's a Little Better

Word in the Champion yesterday that our municipal leaders have awoken from their slumber and decided to accelerate the nascent Arts Centre project in order to qualify it for the next funding application opportunity.

The Town is pushing ahead to develop a concept plan for the proposed $40-million arts centre and new central library to make it “construction- ready” and eligible for a portion of the $12 billion in temporary infrastructure funding announced in the federal budget in late January.

Council voted Monday night to speed up detailed design of the facility after the Town received word two weeks ago that a previous application for $15 million in combined provincial and federal funding for the project had been rejected.

“Staff were advised by various government officials that, while the project ranked well in terms of qualifying under the “Cultural Infrastructure” category, the time- lines proposed weren’t advanced sufficiently to ensure the project was ‘construction ready,’” states a staff report submitted to Milton council.

Staff proposed and council approved several measures to move things along, including finding and hiring an architect and reducing the notification time required to terminate the lease with Milton Hydro (the current occupants of the proposed property). This is all excellent news, and I think they may actually be serious this time.

There is one item in the article that puzzles me, though.

Council hasn’t approved the construction of the arts and entertainment centre, though it did approve in principle a business plan for the facility in 2006. At that time, it also approved $100,000 in annual funding for five years to go toward the project from the Milton Community Fund, paid for by Mohawk Racetrack slot revenues.

That was two and a half years ago. What, if anything, has that $200,000 plus been spent on? Not on an architect, apparently, nor on any of the other parts of the process that would have moved the project forward from the vague concept they had in 2006. Now, suddenly, they are in a hurry.

That's what you get for procrastinating.

No comments: