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City, DDAAC join forces to support WAC

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The City of Dauphin and the Dauphin and District Allied Arts Council (DDAAC) have formalized their working relationship through the formation of a liaison committee to ensure the best possible future for the Watson Art Centre.
City manager Sharla Griffiths said with the city owned historical site needing some work, the time was right for the two groups to come together,
“And work towards making that building great, Griffiths said.
“In the past few years there’s been interest from the arts council to improve the building. And some of those improvements are building envelope, like the basic exterior of the building, and some of it is primary utilities like heat and water and electrical, And then some of those improvements are more for performance based or arts based issues like improving the stage as an example.”
The new committee has met once to begin the work of determining what are city responsibilities as owners of the property and what falls on the shoulders of the DDAAC as renters of providers of space for the arts community.
“We just need to formalize that a bit more,” Griffiths said.
“Both parties came to the table wanting the relationship to work. We are not in a position of being at odds or anything. We both have an interest in the building.”
The group is looking to compile a list of needed repairs, from the city’s perspective to protect its asset, Griffiths said, citing replacing windows as a priority.
“I don’t know if they’re original, but they’re really old,” she said.
“Protecting the asset, energy efficiency, those kinds of things. Windows would be something that would be on the city’s list.”
As the WAC is a heritage site, any work must maintain the historical integrity of the building.
“Once we get the list, we do have to run it through the province to make sure that what we want to do is is acceptable in their mind,” Griffiths said, adding the City is familiar with the process as the WAC is not its only heritage building.
“They’re great to work with and they appreciate that we have the attention to and the desire to keep it as historically accurate as possible.”