The Arts and Heritage Foundation is rallying the troops in advance of an Aug. 27 city council meeting that could decide the future of the organization.
In a letter dated July 26 and signed by the foundation’s board of trustees, the non-profit is calling on all its members to make their voices heard either before or at the meeting to help save the organization.
“If they feel arts and heritage is important and has a place in the community, we are encouraging them to speak to others about what we do and why,” said marketing and communications co-ordinator Danielle Antoniuk.
The letter calls attention to the options council will debate Aug. 27. Two of the seven would allow the foundation to continue functioning as is and three would remove some or all of its responsibilities. One option would simply extend for another year the current stewardship agreement between the foundation and the city while the last option would create a new corporation to oversee arts and heritage in the city.
The letter also outlines what the group has done for the community to date, including construction of the replica train station and restoration of the Little White School.
“A significant amount of funds have been raised by our organization that we feel may not have been available to the community if it had not been done by a non-profit,” Antoniuk said.
The group’s fear is some of its supporters – a “silent majority” – might choose not to make their thoughts and feelings heard.
“I think we will work very hard to get the word out in the community and to get others to voice their opinions as well,” she said.
Mayor Nolan Crouse issued a statement encouraging supporters to contact councillors and even called on the foundation board to allow its staff members to voice their opinions as well.
“I’m encouraging [them]to include all members of staff because there is probably a little bit of this awkward situation where staff don’t feel they can communicate with council directly and I just wanted to lift the lid on that,” Crouse said.
Anyone seeking more information can visit www.artsheritage.ca.