Moving out? Consultant suggest Petrolia municipal office should move out of Victoria Hall


Janis Barlow says the Town of Petrolia should move out of Victoria Hall to allow the playhouse to flourish.

Barlow is the principle of Barlow and Associates, the consulting company hired by the municipality to imagine the future of Victoria Hall. “All the public spaces would remain under one roof, but the relocation of municipal spaces/offices would enable long desired consideration of expanding the theatre spaces to meet contemporary expectations,” wrote Richard Poore, director of cultural services in a January report to council about a $25,000 grant received for the $49,000 study.

Barlow took about an hour-and-a-half Monday to explain to council what the company has found so far and to ask council to give permission to draw up preliminary plans which would include moving the municipal offices out of Victoria Hall.

Barlow says over the last five years the theatre has sold 75 per cent of its tickets.

Barlow and her associates met with about 30 people selected by town staff including people who work at the theatre, the management team of D2 Entertainment, seven members of the Victoria Hall Art Advisory Committee, members of council and one community leader. They also studied the current space and whether it met Ontario’s standards for accessibility and for the theatre industry.

Barlow wanted council’s permission to design a concept moving the municipal office out of Victoria Hall. The mayor said it would be something council would discuss in the future and get back to the consultant.

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