On this page I will comment on various newspaper articles, radio phone-ins etc. Naturally the views expressed here are strictly those of the writer. Any comments should be forwarded to me John R. Meale


Everything about the rally was first class except that we would have appreciated a bigger crowd. Even the weather cooperated although our onstage dignitaries complained it was getting chilly in the shade. We had disk jockeys, clowns, wonderful live music from Centenial Secondary's Lindsey Sinclair (fresh from her 4th place finish out of 60 contestants at the Country Singing Showdown at the Kingston Fall Fair) and Ken Stapley. We had speeches by Carol Quinn, Joan Reive, and Florence Lennox. Gerry Boyce gave some historic background on the BCIVS building and the site extending  way back before that school was built on the site. Orland French read from the book " North of Seven - and Proud of It ". Geoff Green reviewed the financial aspects of the project. And the special guest speaker was Kerry Stratton, one of Bellevilles most famous native sons.
Mr. Stratton is a world famous conductor and also hosts the Music at Midday music program on Classical 96 (Classical 103.1 for those of us who pick it out of the air here in Belleville from the Cobourg transmitter.). He gave an excellent speech pointing out that support of  cultural attractions not only make sense from that cultural perspective but also from an economic point of view. The Culture industry in Ontario is the 4th largest sector of our economy and growing at a rapid pace. We're very much in danger of falling behind. Jason Bremner acted as MC for the afternoon. Several candidates for the upcoming municipal election attended. I hope they took the opportunity to view the QCC plans. Thanks to all those that worked so hard with incredibly short notice.

Commentary on CJBQ radio Call In Show Friday Aug 15th - guest Fred Deacon - Subject - proposed Trudeau Motors site for new library.

The present building has 22000 sq. ft. on the ground floor plus 15000 sq.ft. upstairs. An additional 7000 sq. ft. could be added ( I believe by squaring out the building at the back). Mr. Deacon did a good job of presenting the attributes of the site he is promoting. they include:  -    a strong ground floor (poured concrete on bedrock)
                                      -   rooms upstairs for gallery space complete with hardwood flooring already in place
                                      -  an excellent  view of the river and the riverfront trail
                                      -  an apparently attractive price. Mr. Deacon said they think they can provide the complete
                                        library for  in the range of  $3.5 to $4 million dollars. However he stressed that this is based
                                         on their preliminary estimates only without having any input on requirements from the city.
In other words the real cost may well be expected to escalate somewhat. He also indicated they knew they had to aim at an attractive price point because if it were in the range of $5 to $6 million dollars the public would be wondering why the city had not proceeded with the QCC.
The only real exception I have to Mr. Deacon's comments are that he indicated the QCC had been killed because of " elevating costs".
As far as I am aware the project costs did not increase and the project was right on budget with a firm number tendered for the completion. See All that remains of the Original Quinte Cultural Centre Website.
One caller expressed concern about old piping and services and that they could be very costly to replace. I don't know if those costs are included in the estimate or not. clearly it would not be in the interest of the Trudeau proposal to high-ball the estimate.
After the BCI site is demolished a site utilizing an existing structure could escalate somewhat but remain below the cost of a completely new facility. This is of course why the cost of the library portion of the QCC site would only have been such a bargain at about $3.7 million. The city was only going to put up $3 million so the culture supporters were already putting about $700,000 toward the library cost. there is nothing wrong with this as basically it appears that the group of QCC supporters includes most of the library supporters anyway. Considering the property value alone of the Trudeau Motors site it would seem that the cost might well have to exceed $4 million even with minor structural changes.

Commentary on CJBQ radio Call In Show Tues Aug 19th? - guests Mary-Anne Sills, Cliff Belch and Leona Hendry - Subject - Library Site selection Committee.
I was pleased to hear that at least the committee has agreed that the library must be located in the downtown core. Councilor Belch indicated that that is however somewhat larger than people think of as the downtown business district and being bounded by Church st. Coleman St. and Station street.
One caller suggested the Memorial Arena site. Councilor Sills said that site is not available as it is a heritage designated site and that anyway that arena is needed and likely an additional ice pad somewhere in the city. It is interesting to note that council has had no concern about demolishing the BCIVS site which is also a Heritage Site. When another caller asked about the QCC option Councilor Sills simply said " That site is hot available to us - it is owned by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Separate School Board". Of course she didn't say that the city had just given the site to the separate board last Tuesday morning, having passed the by-law to do so just the evening before!
    As per the Heritage designation; she does have a point. While the Memorial Arena or any other property is  owned by the city the heritage designation can not be repealed nor a demolition permit issued on the property without going through a well defined process that requires opportunity for objection from the public and a hearing by the Heritage Board if there is any objection. Unfortunately the present Ontario Heritage Act allows the city to accept a request to de-designate or demolish  from an owner with the only requirement to first pass it to the Local Architecture Conservancy Advisory Committee (known as Heritage Belleville) for its opinion. So the BCI building that was protected last week is not protected this week just because the city gave it away!  Not only that but Bill 124 2003 which has already passed 1st reading in the Ontario Legislature will correct the glaring error in the Heritage Act to still require the same open process for repealing designation whether the city or the owner initiates the process. Alas, it appears that bill will not be passed in time to save the BCI site.

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Last Updated Oct 23, 2003 by John R. Meale

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