Thursday, July 4th, 2019

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog has given the Scugog Council for the Arts about one year to find a new location to operate in.
At a meeting on Monday, June 17th, Scugog councillors saw a report, which included a one-year memorandum of understanding between Scugog Township and the Arts Council. But, at the meeting, another recommendation was added, advising the Arts Council they have one year to find a new home.
“That in accordance with Section 17 of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Township is providing notice to the Scugog Council for the Arts of termination of this Memorandum of Understanding, and as such the Memorandum of Understanding shall end and Unit G1 be vacated as of June 30th, 2020,” read the new recommendation.
The Scugog Council for the Arts is located at 181 Perry St. in a portion of the building that also houses the Scugog Municipal office, Unit G-1. The Township leases the unit from the Port Perry Annex Corporation and has been sub-leasing the unit to the arts council. On July 31st, 2029, the Township will no longer have to pay the Port Perry Annex Corporation rent to lease the space.
“Staff met with Marion Meyers, Scugog Council for the Arts on March 20th, 2019 regarding the terms of the MOU,” read a staff report.
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido was concerned about the lack of notification to the Arts Council of this decision.
“So this would be our format for notifying them, in a council meeting?” Councillor Guido asked.
However, Mayor Bobbie Drew said this decision should not come as a surprise to them as “they have been told for a number of years that [the township] will be needing that space.”
CAO Paul Allore explained there is a clause in the memorandum of understanding that the Township only has to give the arts council six months notice to terminate the agreement, and with this motion, they are already giving them 12 months notice.
“I just would’ve thought that a conversation would’ve been had prior to it being discussed by council,” Councillor Guido said.
Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink questioned what the township’s plans are for the unit going forward.
CAO Allore said the Township is looking to move their finance department to that space. The finance department is in the basement of the municipal office.
“It’s not the best environment for them down there,” Mr. Allore said. “There’s a desire to have them located in a better space.”
Council later passed the recommendations.
Ms. Meyers, the Scugog Council for the Arts President, confirmed to The Standard that the township did not notify the arts council of the termination recommendation prior to the decision being made by council, stating she was “surprised by how [the decision] was made.”
She also told The Standard the Arts Council has not yet met to talk about what they will do in 2020.

Photo taken from Scugog Council of the Arts