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Protect museum, local history, council told

Morgan Ian Adams

COLLINGWOOD - Council shouldn't take a scalpel to the budget of the town's museum in an effort to save money.

Several presenters at a public meeting on the budget Saturday morning urged councillors to not chop the facility's budget, even though the temptation may be to sacrifice the museum in order to fund hard services such as roads and sidewalks.

"Don't use a red pen to erase our past," said Irene Pradyszczuk, a member of the museum's advisory committee.

There have been suggestions that services at the museum could be reduced, or a partnership be found with another entity such as the Simcoe County Museum, in order to save money.

Council has not made any final decisions regarding funding for any municipal service.

"It's an important cultural facility, and Collingwood is almost unique in that it has had a community museum for more than 100 years," said Bruce Mackison, who is chair of the museum's advisory board, as well as chair of the Collingwood Historical Society.

Mackison said the facility is a "visible and tangible reflection" of the work of the community, and it "exists to preserve the evidence of the past for present and future generations."

Mackison noted that not only is the museum a repository of local artifacts, but it also a resource for historians, authors, and genealogists.

The museum, he said, "meets the intellectual and educational and recreational needs of the community... you need to continue to support this valuable and unique feature of the community."

Deputy-mayor Rick Lloyd, who is also chair of the town's budget committee, noted the museum costs taxpayers about $300,000 annually to operate.

"I'm pleased that we're hearing those concerns from board members and the public," he said, "but something has to give.

"We have to reduce some of our expenses, because things can't be business as usual."

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