by Jini Stolk
I was delighted to see the announcement of the rebirth of a much needed Culture Build Investment Program at the City of Toronto.
As you know, I also hope that over time we can begin to create a stronger connection between the arts and the heritage preservation objectives at the City.
But I have another question, about the City’s policy of support for renovating or upgrading City-owned cultural spaces (think The Theatre Centre’s new home at the Carnegie Library; Young People’s Theatre; Theatre Passe Muraille; and more.) The City’s balance sheet benefits from any increase to these buildings’ value and the arts organizations, through their hard work and the work of their volunteer boards and capital campaign committees, bring significant government and private funds into the improvement of a City-owned asset – saving the City millions in long-term maintenance and capital improvement costs.
Wouldn’t it make financial sense for the City to contribute to these projects (possibly at an increased level) through its capital budget allocations? This would act as an incentive to maintaining the City’s cultural capital assets in a state of good repair: a plus for its asset portfolio and balance sheet, and a meaningful contribution to the neighbourhoods where these buildings are located.
It makes sense to me.