A group of 14 of Cobourg’s Community organizations have joined together to ask MPP David Piccini to support re-development of Brookside and Strathmore House into multi-purpose spaces that would meet the growing needs of Cobourg’s Cultural organizations. They have jointly submitted a letter that describes their ideas and needs and although no numbers were provided, they say that some groups are currently paying over $1,000/month for storage and rehearsal space that is not suitable to their needs. Their letter concludes: “With Strathmore House at the centre, we believe the repurposing of Brookside Youth Centre could become a vibrant cultural hub that inspires collaboration, facilitates a platform for cross sector partnerships and stimulates multi-generational learning opportunities for members, Cobourg residents and guests.” A copy is provided in the links below.
- Northumberland Orchestra & Choir
- Northumberland Players
- VOS (Victoria Opera Society)
- Oriana Singers of Northumberland
- Film Access Northumberland
- Cobourg Museum Foundation
- Cobourg Art Club
- Pine Ridge Art Association
- Northumberland Hills Stitchery Guild
- Northumberland Creates
- Sounds of the Next Generation (SONG)
- Architectural Conservancy Ontario – Cobourg & East Northumberland
- Art Gallery of Northumberland
- Marie Dressler Foundation
- Also Denny Manchee, Cobourg resident and Jane’s Walk Organizer, and Carol McCann, Chair of Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee (2015 – 2018)
For names, an indication of the number of people represented and more detail see full letter in link below.
The following key elements were highlighted as a need for our community:
- Additional rehearsal space
- Flex studio space
- Flex office space and meeting rooms
- Recording space
- Additional storage space for props/set pieces/costumes
- Additional exhibit space
- Additional film space/space to host a film festival and larger viewings
- Additional performance centre (Smaller or larger than the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall that would provide additional options and variation for performances)
- Larger, multi-use space
- Lesson space for educational programming
- Wood shop and working lab to make sets
Strathmore House could also be used for Trade Schools; for example:
- Hospitality/Food & Beverage School that would include a commercial kitchen for local residents and tourists to enjoy. The property surrounding the home could be turned into a community garden where students grow the produce used in the kitchen.
- Heritage Conservation and Management
- Arts Campus with lecture halls and adjoining performing arts centre for future Canadian playwrights and script writers
- Branch of OCAD
Cultural Plan (2019)
Their ideas are supported by the Cultural plan
- Invest in cultural facilities as anchors for cultural development in Cobourg (1.4)
- Support the cultural sector with funding, grant and training opportunities (4.1)
- Foster opportunities for cultural expression and experiences for Cobourg’s youth (6.1)
The letter says that:
A number of our local cultural groups have outgrown their current rentals, struggle to find appropriate rehearsal space or seek the opportunity to expand their organizations. Some groups are currently paying over $1,000/month for storage and rehearsal space that is not suitable to their needs. Therefore, would greatly appreciate a joint venture centre they could rent monthly but would also provide flex space for meetings, showcases or other events.
A copy of this letter was also sent to Councillors Bureau and Beatty. It would be surprising if all the ideas proposed by this group (and others) were ignored by Council. See also letters to the editor.
Addendum – 5 May 2021
Here is another proposal as submitted (in February) to MPP David Piccini by Paula and Tom Hacking.