CAO is considering future funding for the Elliot Lake Arts Hub

Elliot Lake CAO Daniel Gagnon says the city is on hold with plans for the Elliot Lake Arts Hub.

In a report to the Elliot Lake City Council at its virtual meeting Monday night, CAO Gagnon wrote that the donors were oversubscribed and no decisions had been made.

Last fall, the city applied for and received funding for the renovation of the former cinema in the city center. The idea is for the city to use the former Reel to Reel Theater site as a temporary home for arts and cultural activities.

Regarding the progress of the Arts Hub planned for the site of the former Lester B. Pearson Civic Center off Highway 108, Gagnon wrote, “Employees have applied for the Green and Inclusive Community Building (GICB) program, which significant grants to implement a net carbon zero approach to the building.

“Although this has increased the cost of the facility significantly, the grant offsets the additional cost.”

He said the net-zero design includes a 6,700-square-foot theater with retractable seating (400), a museum, a gallery, four art studio rooms, and a multipurpose room.

“The estimated total cost of construction is $21.5 million. If approved, the GICB grant will offset the cost by $11.4 million. The city must contribute $3.5 million, leaving a balance of $6.5 million,” Gagnon concluded.

These funds would come from a combination of the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF), NOHFC funding (potential for $2M), other undisclosed sources, and/or additional community contributions.

There’s nothing written, but the federal CCSF has suggested the city could get about $4-5 million in funding there.

If Elliot Lake does not receive GICB program funding, the design can be modified to reduce some of the costly net carbon zero design elements and lower the price of build.

If the city refurbishes the old movie theater for the arts community, the removal of art studios and some of the Arts Hub’s net-zero components could bring construction costs down to $14 million.

That still leaves huge gaps to be filled for funding, but the council is not being asked to decide how to deal with it for now.

Any recommendations on how to proceed will be considered by the Advisory Committee of the Arts and Culture Center before returning to Council when the grant picture is clear.

Monday’s council meeting will be streamed live on the city’s website at 7 p.m

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