Arts and Culture Centre

Various images of people performing music, on stage, sculpture, painting to identify the diversity of the creative arts.



Arts & Culture Centre Project Life Cycle Phases

There are five project phases identified for the Arts & Culture Centre Project, starting with Concept Vision, Phase 0, and ending with Phase 4, Project Construction. We have identified for each phase, key activity(s) and considerations that will be reviewed to exit that phase and move to the next phase.

Each phase of the project will have opportunity for community and stakeholder(s) consultation.

Please check the News Feed tab for more information on the project.




Arts & Culture Centre Project Life Cycle Phases

There are five project phases identified for the Arts & Culture Centre Project, starting with Concept Vision, Phase 0, and ending with Phase 4, Project Construction. We have identified for each phase, key activity(s) and considerations that will be reviewed to exit that phase and move to the next phase.

Each phase of the project will have opportunity for community and stakeholder(s) consultation.

Please check the News Feed tab for more information on the project.


Q&A

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  • Mentioned in one of the questions, the new facility will be run by a board. Will the board be chosen by the owners of the building or by the town? Or voted in? If voted, will there be members of the new arts center to vote in a board?

    Sarahturpin asked about 2 years ago

    Work on a governance model for the new Arts and Culture Centre will be completed this winter. Town council made the decision to issue a Request for Proposals(RFP) to develop the governance model at its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 23.  It will be developed in consultation with the public/stakeholders. The work will be led by independent experts in organizational management and governance. There will be opportunities to get involved for those who are interested in how the new arts centre will be run. Council expects details on governance to be settled by next spring.


  • The town of Yarmouth and Government of NS spent $81,000 on the Maud Lewis Trail, would Parade st not be a perfect place for an Arts Center to be a hub between downtown and Starrs Rd (Mariners center)?

    Sarahturpin asked about 2 years ago

    Please see answer to earlier question on location of the Arts & Culture centre.

  • Was there a tender or RFP issued for the cost of the arcitect? For both the $25,000 for him to look at the three proposed properties, Or for the $40,000 for the firm to produce conceptual designs?

    Sarahturpin asked about 2 years ago

    No, the architect was invited to help get things started. Brian MacKay-Lyons grew up in Yarmouth. Council believed that familiarity was a unique asset for the specific projects he was contracted to complete.(See answers to earlier questions for more on the RFP process).


  • Looking at the designs by Mr.Lyons at the public meeting, the current house located on the Collins St. Parking lot is not shown in his designs. What are the plans for this house?

    Sarahturpin asked about 2 years ago

    If it is required in the final design, the Town will acquire this property.


  • Why was Parade St not included in the lots looked at by the Arcitect? Other than a study from 2002 (15 year old study) and 2010 (a 7 year old study) when th'YARC has proven Parade st to be a sustainable and profittable location?

    Sarahturpin asked about 2 years ago

    Parade Street was not looked at by the consultants because it is not in the downtown business district. A majority of funding for a new arts centre will be public money. This project is a priority of the Town of Yarmouth because a downtown arts and culture centre will contribute to the revitalization of the town’s central business district, and it will also meet an identified need to improve the arts and culture opportunities for people in our region. The Town’s Downtown Blueprint (the 2010 study) laid out a 20-year plan for revitalization of downtown.  Carrying out that plan has led to the changes in downtown that people have noticed in the last seven years.


  • I heard the Collins street property is contaminated and is unsuitable for an Arts and Culture centre development.

    almost 2 years ago

    The site is suitable for development. A phase 1 & 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was carried out on the property and localized contamination was found, as expected. When the site is developed, some remediation might be required.  A copy of our Phase 1 & 2 study is available on the GetInvolvedYarmouth.ca website, document library.

  • Isn't work to be carried out in the RFP treading much of the same ground as the work that the town engaged the MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architect firm to do?

    almost 2 years ago

    No it will not tread over the same ground. The Request For Proposal (RFP) is the next step and has a different purpose.

    MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architect’s work included two phases.

    The first phase was to look at three downtown sites for possible development of a regional arts centre. Council asked the MacKay-Lyons group to consider everything identified in Th’YARC’s plan. In addition, they were asked to add a healthy allowance for emerging needs that may not have been thought of when Th’YARC’s plans were developed. The team from MacKay-Lyons said all three sites could be used. The Collins Street site scored highest. Two previous consultants also identified Collins Street as the preferred site. The MacKay-Lyons group developed mock-ups contrasting and comparing the strengths and opportunities of the three sites.  The team met with members of Yarmouth Town Council and representatives of the Yarmouth Arts Regional Council to present their work, and answer questions.

    The second phase of the work focused solely on the Collins Street site.  The MacKay-Lyons group held two workshops with representatives from a broad cross section of the local arts and cultural community. The goal was to gather ideas from the community. How did THEY see this site being used to best serve all the identified needs and dreams. The MacKay-Lyons group took all the information from these two visioning exercises and produced an interpretation of what the project could look like. It was based on that community input. It was presented at a public event at the Rodd Grand Hotel on October 10, 2017. This was an opportunity to inform the public of some of the early steps, and invite questions. The community will continue to be a part of this process as the project develops.


  • Obviously the town has to issue an RFP in accordance with its public procurement policy and the province’s public procurement act, but when it comes to the concept design is there a possibility the work may end up being different, if another firm is chosen, from the work MacKay-Lyons has presented to the public based on stakeholder sessions that have been held? If so, people may question why that work took place. And if not, they may still wonder why that work took place.

    almost 2 years ago

    No time, money, or work has been wasted. Regardless of which firm is selected, when we move forward with this project, the possibilities for the site are now better understood.

  • Could someone explain how this Request for Proposal (RFP) is different from that work?

    almost 2 years ago

    The firm selected to complete the next phase will be selected through a Request For Proposals (RFP).  This phase will be going back to users and identifying specific uses and needs. A feasibility analysis and capital budget will be developed based on those needs/wants. The project and design will change, whether MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects eventually secures the contract or another firm is successful. Brian MacKay-Lyons said in his presentation that many firms create images at this stage in a project that they have no expectation of building. (They are just renderings, not detailed designs.)

    At the end of this coming phase in the project, the Town will have projections of operating and capital budgets. The scope of the project, and the possibilities for phasing the construction and development will also be determined.


  • Is the town willing to state how much money has been spent in the engagement work carried out by MacKay-Lyons? What part of the town’s budget would the funding come from?

    almost 2 years ago

    The first phase of the work was $25,000.  The second phase was $40,000.  The first $25,000 was an expense that will be covered in the Town’s operating budget. It will be under studies.  All of the subsequent work will be charged against the capital project.


  • I have also had a couple of people ask why the get involved website was outsourced to a Vancouver company. Can the town explain?

    almost 2 years ago

    The Get Involved website is designed to engage the public about issues of public interest. Town staff has determined that this online service, provided by Bang The Table, offers the best solution and value for the Town of Yarmouth.  We want all citizens to get involved in a way that is safe and respectful.  So many free online options, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become unsafe places for differing ideas and opinions. Cyber-bullying is real and takes place, even in our small town.  Bang The Table allows the Town to collect ideas and opinions. It allows residents to have their questions answered. It also provides independent moderation.  There are expected standards of conduct, like respecting other opinions and staying on-topic. The Town of Yarmouth recognizes that there are ALWAYS many points of view, and we need to provide safe places for dialogue on matters of public interest.  We do that in our council chambers, workshops and public meetings. With www.getinvolvedyarmouth.com, we can do that online as well. 

  • The completion of this next phase of work as outlined by the RFP is May 2018 or earlier. Does the town have an estimate/guesstimate as to how long this project may take from vision to completion? Are we looking at several years?

    almost 2 years ago

    It will take years, not months, to complete this project. The next phase, after a feasibility analysis and capital budget estimates are completed (May 2018), will be fundraising. That is expected to involve all three levels of government and a community campaign (no timeline is set, as yet).  Following fundraising, a lead consultant will be hired to complete a design to fit the needs and budget (6-9 months).  The project will be tendered and construction will take many months. 


  • Why was there no public consultation before the decision was made to build the new arts centre downtown?

    JackNickerson asked about 2 years ago

    o    There have been several rounds of public consultation over the last 15 years.

      • Council hired outside consultants to complete a study in 2002. That study included public consultation. It concluded a new arts centre should be downtown.
      • Council hired a different outside consultant to do another study in 2010. That study included public consultation. It concluded a new arts centre should be downtown. It also identified the Collins Street parking lot as the best place for a new arts centre.
      • For 15 years Yarmouth town councils have said their support for a new regional arts centre depends on it being located within the downtown business district. In that time, five councils and three mayors have been elected by residents of the Town of  Yarmouth. 
      • After the last municipal election in October 2016, town council identified development of an arts and cultural centre as one of its priorities. The council re-affirmed the view that a downtown location would serve the greatest public good. 
      • On Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 council approved the Collins Street parking lot as its choice of location to build a new regional centre for arts and culture. The analysis of two outside experts was among things considered by council in reaching that unanimous decision.
      • The Collins Street location also had the support of the Yarmouth Development Corporation, a downtown business association. In 2009, the corporation donated the land to the town for the purpose of building an arts centre.

  • How much is my taxes going to go up in order to fund the construction of this new arts centre and to keep it going once it is open?

    JackNickerson asked about 2 years ago

      • Yarmouth Town Council is committed to financial sustainability.
      • Over the past 10 years, the Town has invested $27Million in our infrastructure while reducing our debt from $5.8Million to $2.9Million and reducing tax rates at the same time.
      • There are several options for funding the costs of building the arts centre, and the costs of running it. Costs will have to be shared by funding from other levels of government, and private fundraising, as well as municipal tax dollars.  
      • Cost estimates will be developed during the next phase of the project. 
      • Public input will continue to be sought through each phase.

  • It was great to see with URL provided within a Facebook thread. I only have one hopefully simple questions on the Arts Centre, what has the town of Yarmouth spend thus far leading up to stage 1? Appreciate the time and any reply. Cheers, Jason

    jasonmelanson asked about 2 years ago

    $65,000

      • $25,000 for the consultant to review three sites in the downtown. The firm of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. looked at the opportunities and challenges of developing each of the sites. They met with representatives of Th’YARC, and representatives of the town’s council and staff. This phase ended with a recommendation to use the Collins Street site to develop a regional arts and culture centre.
      • $40,000 for the firm to produce a conceptual design. This stage involved two workshops to get input from people representing many sectors of the arts and culture community. There were around 50-60 people at each of the workshops. This was by invitation only and Th’YARC representatives were included in those invitations. The architects used information from the workshops to develop the concept design. This phase ended with a general public meeting on October 10, 2017. The architect’s concept design, which combined all the input received at the workshops, was unveiled.

  • Who will run the facility?

    about 2 years ago

    The facility will be run by a Board with skills necessary to deliver good governance of a multi-use arts facility. There are models used by successful community arts and culture centres. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The facility needs people who can provide steady oversight.  It needs people able to set strategy and develop policies to fairly manage competing interests. Transparency, accountability, integrity are some of the cornerstones we will build on.


  • What will happen to local theatre in a new, busier facility?

    about 2 years ago

    We expect it to thrive! An arts and culture centre will only be as vibrant and busy as the many artists in our community make it. The centre will support local performers, visual artists, artisans and craftspeople as they develop their crafts.  The Town recognizes that education and training is an important part of the centre’s mission. Visiting performers will provide entertainment, but local productions will provide the opportunities for residents to grow as artists and performers. 


  • Th’YARC has been running an arts centre for 35 years. Why not just leave them alone, and support them to do whatever they want?

    about 2 years ago

    A new arts and culture centre is a key piece of public infrastructure. Millions of taxpayer dollars will be spent. The Town has a responsibility to maximize the community benefits. That is why federal and provincial agencies require support from local governments before approving funds for this kind of project. It is a matter of public interest, not just the interests of one group. 


  • Is the Town forcing Th'YARC to relocate downtown?

    about 2 years ago

    The Town is encouraging Th’YARC to fully participate in this process. The Town believes the programming needs of Th’YARC’s members and patrons can be better met at a site located within the downtown business district. The Board of Th’YARC will decide what is in the best interests of its membership. The Town is encouraged by the participation of representatives of many arts and culture groups in recent planning sessions. The town’s goal is to involve all sectors of the arts and culture community. The Town hopes Th’YARC will decide to be represented at the table.


  • Why is the Town focusing on the downtown?

    about 2 years ago

    Downtowns are what set towns apart. People are drawn to local businesses, local food and local arts and culture.  By supporting our unique downtown, we will improve the quality of life for residents and our region. We will offer an enjoyable and memorable destination for visitors. The Town wants to work with all sectors of the arts and cultural community to build a regional cultural centre. The centre will act as a hub of activity to encourage economic development and revitalization of the town’s downtown. This is a rare opportunity. Everyone benefits.


  • What about parking? If you build a new arts and culture centre on the Collins Street parking lot, where will everyone park?

    about 2 years ago

    Parking downtown is important to the Town. Most people will come to the arts centre at night and on weekends when there is plenty of parking downtown. Demand for parking in the downtown is heaviest in the daytime. There will be some public parking at the arts and culture centre. More parking will be created on nearby land owned by the Town. There is public parking on private lots. More public parking can be developed if demand increases.


  • Why has the Town made development of an arts and culture centre a priority?

    about 2 years ago

    The Town wants to revitalize the downtown and encourage economic development in our region. Vibrant downtowns don't just happen. They are planned. In 2010, the Town approved the Downtown Blueprint.  It is a strategy for revitalization. The facade program, way-finding signage, branding and streetscape improvements are part of that plan. A downtown arts and culture centre was also identified as a key project in the plan.