Barrie City Hall allowing cultural grants to be kept despite recipients not being able to deliver

Local theatre's artistic director says keeping cultural organizations alive will aid in long term recovery

The City of Barrie is allowing the recipients of this year’s cultural grants to keep the funding, knowing full well COVID-19 may prevent anyone from delivering.

A motion at City Hall on Monday night passed on consent with no debate or discussion, allowing recipients of February’s grants to keep the funds, putting the money towards weathering the crisis instead of its intended purpose.

Iain Moggach, Artistic Director for Theatre by the Bay and advisor to the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force, says keeping these cultural organizations alive will help in the city’s recovery. “The cultural community provides so much money, in terms of tourism, in terms of downtown, especially in Barrie with all of our shows happening at the five points theater,” he told Barrie 360 via Zoom.

Artistic Director Iain Moggach served on the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force

Moggach added its not just a question of economic recovery either. “I think it’s pretty clear that culture does impact so many different sectors of the economy, but that there are a lot of people that really love our local cultural institutions and wouldn’t want to see them die through this,”

When asked if the money would be better spent elsewhere to aid in the city’s economic recovery, Moggach points out the grants make up a fraction of the city’s overall budget. “This may sound slightly controversial, but in the grand scheme of things, the money that the city provides through the granting program is not very much in comparison with other programs that the city offers,”

The motion allowing recipients to keep the grant money will go for a final ratifying vote at council’s next meeting, Monday, May 11th.