In Response to Ms. Dodgson’s letter to the Townsman April 14:
It is unfortunate, Ms. Dodgson, that you did not contact a member of the Arts Council prior to writing your letter. I thank you for writing it however. The information contained within your letter is very typical of what many people in Cranbrook choose to believe and so much of it is just plain wrong.
Cranbrook and District Arts Council is a society and not a business. As such it cannot make ‘profit’ as a regular business can. Any funds considered to be profit must be put back into the service that we provide.
CDAC has not asked to be given the Fire Hall as a gift. We wish to provide a service, tourist attraction and economic stimulator in this heritage building much as the Studio Stage Door does. The City was donated the Masonic Lodge and the Cranbrook Community Theatre Society have restored it, maintained it at their expense and provide a service and economic generator to the City in return
The new council has removed the funds once promised for the restoration of this heritage building and Cranbrook and District Arts Council has offered to take the restoration on, at no cost to the City. We have, in fact, been exploring every avenue available for funding and have so far been successful without any help from the City.
The Cranbrook and District Arts Council is much more than a place where art is sold. Visit sometime.
Cranbrook and District Arts Council Society has been in existence for forty years, not ten and prior to that under the guidance of Ms. Muriel Baxter it was the Kootenay Fine Arts and Craft Society, giving it a history of 70 plus years in Cranbrook.
We do raise money. People who have attended one of our functions such as a music recital, bought a calendar, attended an art sale, belonged to one of our groups or participated in one of our events know that.
Grants are paid to many organizations including the City of Cranbrook. The Spray Irrigation upgrades would not have been possible without two thirds grant funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments and to date that would mean the City has received approximately 20 million dollars in grants for that project. That is a pretty big hand out. The funding we receive from grants set aside for Arts and Culture are miniscule by comparison and if we don’t get them in Cranbrook, they go to Fernie, Kimberley and elsewhere. You can see the positive result of that in those communities.
Using your argument that we should buy the building, maybe minor hockey should buy the Memorial Arena and library users should buy the library.
You may have voted for this Mayor and Council but do you sincerely believe that they are all comfortable revoking an agreement, that was years in the making, included two previous Councils and one on which many volunteers have put hours of volunteer time into? CDAC for its part has acted in good faith in order to preserve a heritage building that would remain in city hands and become a needed amenity accessible for all taxpayers? They will not give up now.