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This article was published 26/2/2016 (483 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The director of a local centre for francophone artists is still hoping the City will help it achieve its goal of expanding community access at its historic home by giving it a break on its service fees.
Eric Plamondon is the director of La Maison des artistes visuels francophones (MDA), which is based at 219 Provencher Blvd. in the old St. Boniface city hall, a City building that is considered a jewel in the crown on the historic strip.
He wants the City to renew the centre’s lease to exempt it from paying $23,000 a year in common charges for services in lieu of the work the group has done to promote and enhance the local landscape and the city’s artistic community. The centre currently has an annual $1 lease. The matter goes before a city committee on Tues., March 8.
Plamondon, 34, told The Lance the centre has invested $60,000 on the first phase of renovations — due to various donors, including a $20,000 grant from the Winnipeg Foundation — that include converting the community gallery into a "community flex space" to enable it to increase its artistic capacity. The goal is to create a flexible space to hold art shows and workshops, as well as provide studio space. The centre held an open house event to celebrate the opening of the space on Feb. 25.
He said the costs of renovating the space have been higher than expected "partly because we are restoring the historical footprint of the space, partly due to structural issues that need to be corrected and partly due to an array of renovations and movement that have occurred in a building that is over 100 years old."
And while he doesn’t expect the city to pay for the renovations, the Osborne Village resident wants the centre’s contributions to date to be taken into consideration.
"We’re asking them to recognize we’ve invested $1.5 million in the infrastructure of the sculpture garden (to the east of the building). We said we’ll do the renovation project, which is a very considerable project, because it will increase our capacity for the community. We’re committed to the first phase," Plamondon said.
"Many artists and art organizations and community organizations have shown their support for we’re doing. I hope the City recognizes us as a unique tenant. Ultimately, I just want them to be reasonable. We’re not asking for the world."
Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface) said there is the possibility that money could be found in the City’s upcoming capital budget to offset the centre’s service fees over the next four years, but this won’t be known until the budget is tabled on March 2.
"We’ve been working in collaboration with the centre and we recognize the investment they have made. The centre does great work and attracts many visitors to Provencher Blvd. It’s a real asset to St. Boniface," Allard said.