Council fields proposals for Margo Fournier Centre

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Star Development Corporation CEO Darren McCaffery points out to city council the Margo Fournier Centre’s location within the Riverside Arts and Tourism District, as outlined in council’s 2003 Downtown Strategic Plan. 

With the Margo Fournier Centre’s future up in the area, the public is weighing in on what should become of the centrally located downtown building.

 

During Monday’s city council meeting, the city’s elected officials were presented with two options for consideration during upcoming strategic planning sessions.

First to the podium was Prince Albert Farmer’s Market president Bob Gill, who requested the building play host to the market.

“For several years our membership has discussed about needing a permanent home for the farmer’s market, so that anyone looking for the farmer’s market knows exactly where to find us,” he said.

While the summer market has remained in downtown Prince Albert, the winter market is less static, moving from the Parkland Hall to the South Hill Mall.

A Thursday market was held at Prince Albert Tourism last summer and is likely to take residence there again later this summer.

The Margo Fournier Centre would be an ideal, consistent location for all markets, Gill reasoned.

“It’s only two blocks from our current location where we’re set up, so all our current users will still have access to the Farmer’s Market, and we just feel that with the 3,000 people who work in the downtown area it’s absolutely perfect,” he said.

Its proximity to Second Avenue West is also idea, he said, noting that it’ll help draw more people from the highway into both the market and the city.

Second to submit a proposal for the Margo Fournier Centre was Star Development Corporation CEO Darren McCaffery, whose company has been contracted to operate the E. A. Rawlinson Centre.

“The Margo Fournier Centre is strategically located as an anchor point in what is identified as the Riverside Arts and Tourism District,” he said, citing the city’s 2003 Downtown Strategic Plan.

“The Arts Board believes that a re-energizing of the Margo Fournier that Centre into a multi-use community arts, culture and educational hub is not only possible, but critical for the continued growth and development of our Arts and Cultural community, the growth of the Riverside Arts and Tourism District and pivotal to the revitalization of our entire Downtown core.”

McCaffery said that the Prince Albert Arts Board has been encouraged by preliminary talks with Broadway North Theatre training program, the Mann Art Gallery, Odyssey Productions and various arts and music guilds and the Prince Albert Farmer’s Market.

They want to band together to reinvigorate the centre and figure out a means of helping pay for it.

“We understand that it is not the City's sole responsibility to make change happen and that we pledge to do our best to partner with you to generate whatever level of community and business involvement is necessary to make this a reality.”

In May, a group of more than 100 people showed up at city hall to encourage city council to rescind a notice for user groups to potentially vacate the premises by Dec. 31.

The city’s elected officials unanimously rescinded the order -- a motion that for all intents and purposes was meaningless given the nature of the order to “potentially” vacate the premises.

The future of the building remains in the area as city council considers ways of making the building more viable at a time when city council is charged with cutting costs. 

Organizations: Margo Fournier Centre, Riverside Arts, Prince Albert Tourism Star Development E. A. Rawlinson Centre Prince Albert Arts Board Broadway North Theatre Mann Art Gallery

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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