This was first proposed in August 2014 and although the Town came close to buying it in May 2015, the deal fell through (see links below). It was subsequently bought by someone else but since then, nothing has happened – at least not publicly. The thought by some is that Cobourg needs something equivalent to Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre and although the Park needs extensive work, it is halfway there. On the other hand, Victoria Hall already serves as a theatre for many events. However, a consultant has now been hired to prepare a Cultural Master Plan and it is hoped that it will help with making a decision. A lot is riding on this Plan; when Dean Hustwick was hired in March 2016 as Director of Parks and Recreation, it was part of his mandate.
Work on the Cultural Master Plan has started and its scope includes identifying the Town’s role in Cobourg’s Cultural sector, assessment of opportunities for new initiatives that leverage cultural assets and the need and feasibility of municipal funding of arts and culture. Download the RFP here. Although the RFP did not explicitly say anything about the Park (or the Marie Dressler House), the CAO and Council have said that “decisions on Cultural Assets” (like these buildings) will be deferred until the completion of the Plan. The photo of the Park theatre (at right) was taken at the time it was sold in December 2016.
All candidates were asked the question “Should the Town buy the Park Theatre?” – here are their answers:
|John Henderson (acclaimed)||For the Town Council to consider purchasing the Park Theatre we would require a mandate from our citizens to spend millions of dollars over the term of Council. The new Council will need to determine if this potential purchase is viable with a Return on Investment and integrates with the Cultural Master Plan. [Abbreviated]|
|Randy Curtis||The current council reviewed this proposal and declined to move forward. It is my understanding that it was too expensive. As an advocate of prudent financial management I agree with this decision.|
|Suzanne Séguin||Is it for sale? The new Council should have access to all the documents and engineering reports related to the Park Theatre and hold a public discussion before this is even on the table for possible 2020 budget deliberations.|
|Nicole Beatty||All capital campaigns, acquisitions, developments and/or purchases require a detailed plan that demonstrates feasibility and communicates economic sustainability in its cash flow and financial projections. Cobourg has a rich history in community partnerships and I would explore a plan that is transparent, low risk, affordable, collaborative and above all, has a strong blueprint that has economic and cultural benefits for the town and its people.|
|Aaron Burchat||I would not support the town purchasing the Park Theatre. The cost is too high currently, and the funds should be directed into other important items (like maintaining current infrastructure) prior to making a purchase like this.
I would support the town assisting a future owner of the Park Theatre with regards to keeping the heritage of the building intact. [Abbreviated]
|Adam Bureau||Ideally the Park Theatre renovated and reopened such as the Capital Theatre in Port Hope, would be a great asset to Cobourg and would in turn create more business for the local restaurants and bars. If there was a way the town could purchase and reopen it, I would be for it.|
|Emily Chorley||No, unless it could be shown that municipal development of the theatre would stimulate further vitalization in downtown Cobourg. Instead, Council should prioritize meeting people’s needs by considering services such as expanded sidewalk snow-clearing or support to those facing homelessness.|
|Karl Vom Dorff||Possibly, at the right price. Cobourg has enough capital expenditure projects in the next two decades though. Unfortunately for the building and its past, I believe the free market has spoken|
|Travis Hoover||No. (Is it even for sale? There is a Sold sign on the building)|
|Miriam Mutton||First, I would like to learn more about the revenue generating mandate that appears to be used to determine priorities at Town Hall. And, on the topic of municipal cultural planning and community quality of life the theatre project deserves continuing consideration. In this light, yes, the Town should be a partner in the purchase and restoration of the Park Theatre. For operations, a County wide joint venture related to cultural resources may be most beneficial.|
|Johnny Percolides||It would make more sense to build a brand new facility in the downtown area that would be better equipped with all of today’s modern needs, accessible for everyone. You can have offsite parking up town and a shuttle bus that brings you downtown every 10 minutes. It would be very easy to get a couple of large corporate sponsors to assist financially and give them the naming and advertising rights if that was needed. [Abbreviated]|
Note: Candidates listed in last name alphabetical order. Answers that were longer than about 40 words have been abbreviated (the limit was an average of 40 words per response).
The next question to be answered is: Open Q & A session – Should there be one at Council meetings?
- Municipal Election Page with comprehensive information about all the candidates in the upcoming election. Includes bios, campaign policies, web sites etc. Also includes how to vote and questions for candidates.
- Park Theatre sold – 28 December 2016
- Another Try at Saving the Park Theatre – 22 May 2016
- Park Theatre Resurrected – 14 August 2014
- New Director of Parks, Recreation, Culture and Tourism – March 2016