Gleeson wants to be sure community has access to theatre


Advisory committee
disbanded by council

The Independent Staff

Petrolia Councillor Mary Pat Gleeson wants to be sure the community still has a say in Victoria Hall’s theatre.
She made the comment as council approved a plan to disband the community advisory committee for Victoria Playhouse Petrolia. Town CAO Manny Baron says the group doesn’t actually make decisions about the theatre but hears about what has happened after the fact. He doesn’t want to waste the volunteers time.
But Gleeson is concerned the community won’t have a say. “When it was restored, it was restored as a community centre for use by community,” she says. “I’m somewhat alarmed there will no longer be community input. I fear it will become unavailable to community groups for anything.
“I don’t want us to lose sight of the fact that this is professional theatre…but we should be encouraging community use.”
Several people, including members of the local theatre and service clubs, have voiced concern about lack of booking dates at Victoria Hall.
Councillor Liz Welsh, who was a member of the committee, believes the committee still had a role to play, especially with a major conference coming this year. “The committee still needs to exist in some form.”
Councillor Ross O’Hara says he’s felt the committee hasn’t been productive in some time. Baron agreed saying the town plans to repurpose the group. “We value everybody’s time and we want everyone’s time to a more useful purpose,” he told council. That could include fundraising he says.
Baron expects the mandate for the new committee at the next meeting.