Cultural Centre Seeks Upgrades

The Moose Jaw Cultural Centre could soon have a new upgraded sound system as well as a projector after a debate in Executive Committee which did not discuss at depth the benefits to the theatre but rather at length dealt mainly with who is responsible for the over budget new marquee.

Appearing before Executive Committee Moose Jaw Cultural Centre general manager Derik Cronin asked Executive Committee to access the Cultural Centre’s retained earnings to purchase a new sound system and projector for approximately $50,000 dependent upon the resolution - 2K or 4K - for the projector.

Currently the Cultural Centre has retained earnings of $195,757 as well as $100,000 in investments.

Cronin told Executive the Cultural Centre had approval in 2016 to purchase a speaker system and projector through the equipment reserve but sufficient funds were not available in the reserve.

“The amount in the equipment reserve is significantly less than it will cost us to replace it,” he said.

In order to purchase the upgraded equipment Cronin asked the Cultural Centre be allowed to access their retained earnings.

“We are not looking for something completely out of the question. There were some quotes…in the one hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand range and we think that is something we would not even consider. But we are looking at staying competitive with the AE Rawlison Theatre in Prince Albert, Casino Regina, Conexus Centre and the Broadway Theatre many which have upgraded their sound system.”

The upgrade speaker system would allow the Cultural Centre to be able to attract more acts as well as saving funds by not having to forego acts as the cost of rental speakers for a show is cost prohibitive or at least one speaker has an audible hum after an hour and is not repairable.

A new projector is needed to play the newer movies as you need a newer projector as well as the picture quality would markedly improve.

The new projector would allow the Cultural Centre to enter partnerships with the Festival of Words and show their 10 movie film festival.

Cronin said the Cultural Centre is on track to strong profits this year similar to 2018.

“Given our last year profits of $54,000 and considering we are on par to do that this year I do believe an increase to the equipment reserve of $12,200 would not effect us significantly.”

Moose Jaw Cultural Centre - MJ Independent File Photo

Moose Jaw Cultural Centre - MJ Independent File Photo

Councillor Brian Swanson however was not interested in the better show experience but concentrated on the outside of the building namely the Cultural Centre’s marquee being the financial responsibility of the City as well as the annual subsidy paid out to the third party board.

“With $297,000 in retained earnings I hope that would be reflected in a reduced subsidy request even if it was 10 or 15 thousand dollars. I don’t understand how the marquee does not become an expense of the Cultural Centre.

“I’m generally of the position retained earnings should be at the discretion of the Cultural Centre but that should be borne in mind when it comes to setting a subsidy level.”

After being informed the cost of the new marquee had increased from $40,000 to $70,000 Councillor Swanson stated the additonal 30 thousand dollar hit could be better spent in many other places.

“It just seems that is the way it goes in Moose Jaw we can find money for all these other things than rather what we should be really be focsing on there doesn’t seem to be enough money.”

Despite Councillor Swanson’s objections the motion passed.

From 2016 the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre has had three general managers as well as controversy and temporary financial hard times.

The Moose Jaw Cultural Centre terminated the employment of former general manager Graham Hall as well as Judy Casey, both who had been with the Cultural Centre since its opening in 2004, and other staff members in 2016. MJ Independent has learnt the move cost the Cultural Centre $100,000 in severance packages.

In media reports the Cultural Centre board stated they were heading the facility in a different direction and because of this hired new management.

MJ Independent has learnt there was also large writeoffs on some outstanding debts owed to the Cultural Centre including a large debt owed by RuBarb Productions. The now defunct theatre group left owing the Cultural Centre a debt over $13,000 after its Summer theatre festival.

And finally, the Cultural Centre took out a lien on a house owned by two former tenanants. The debt owed is just over $11,000.

In 2018, under new management, the Cultual Centre has started to turn its financial situation around reporting growing use and a $54,000 profit.

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