Thursday, May 11, 2006

Warkworth – Art group seeking committee of council status

by Brian Schuette, Community Press Online
Dean Peters proposed setting up a new committee of council at this week’s council meeting. Artworth, an organization made up of artists and artisans living and working in the Warkworth area, is developing a summer art camp for children this year, and they wish to become this new committee. Artworth teaches arts such as music, drama, pottery, painting, and woodturning. The group is expected to send a delegation with David Lyon as its spokesman to next week’s council meeting in order to present information about their objectives and the people involved.
Municipal clerk Marg Montgomery said that a number of conditions have to be met in order for the group to become a committee. It requires a resolution from council to approve their creation, the committee has to be in council’s interest and one it can support. Any finances that the group collects must be turned over to the municipality as a measure of preventing fraud. At least one member of council has to sit on the committee, and more than that if it’s not a normal one. Last, the bylaw for committees would have to be amended for insurance purposes.
Dean Peters said the group currently has about 50 children signed up for courses, and says it is not looking for any money from the municipality. Bill Thompson asked the obvious question, wondering what the group stands to gain by becoming a committee of council. The simple answer, according to Councillor Peters was that the group would be protected under the municipality’s insurance policy, as are all other such committees. He felt the group’s status would also gain an "incremental amount of credibility."
In an interview the following day, David Lyon said the group had initially considered asking the municipality for funding for the artists and for supplies. He said, however, that the group had been quoted $500 for their insurance and he spoke to Councillor Peters about possible ways of getting financial support from Trent Hills. They decided that the best route to take would be to try to get committee status, as that would save the group paying out the money. In a second interview that same day with Peters, he said there have been precedents in the past for such committees, notably ones for the Santa Claus parade and the Maple Syrup Festival.
The issue of handing over any money raised to the municipality, however, may be a stumbling block, as is also possible with the group’s short summer season. Peters said in our interview that although the group doesn’t intend to cost Trent Hills any money, municipal staff would be required to do accounting on the committee’s finances. They would be working on staff time. He also wondered if it would be worth setting all this up if the group operates for only three months out of the year.


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