Proposed Ottawa Concert Hall Funding in Jeopardy

Proposed Ottawa Concert Hall Funding in Jeopardy
Ottawa music fans eager for a proposed multimillion-dollar concert hall might be waiting a long time. Over $12 million in municipal and provincial funds set aside for the building of a $38 million hall in Ottawa may be spent elsewhere, according to the CBC.

Ottawa city Coun. Dian Deans is suggesting that the money, which was originally earmarked for a world-class concert hall in the heart of the Canadian capital city, may be directed to a different project. "It's not money well spent sitting in a bank account," Deans told the CBC.

The money has been stationary for the past five years while an organization called Friends of the Concert Hall attempted to raise the additional funds to build the multimillion-dollar facility.

A June 2008 press release from the group, led by veteran arts presenter Julian Armour and the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, announced that the hall would ideally be located at the legacy site of 150 Elgin St. in downtown Ottawa. The project fell through in February 2008 due to lack of interest and problems raising private funds.

Deans told the CBC that Ottawa still needs a large concert hall, but the city cannot stall any longer in light of other groups waiting for arts funding. She pointed to the redevelopment of Ottawa's Arts Court on Daly Avenue as a potential receiver of some or all of the funds. "If one [project's] ready to go, and one isn't, then which one do you fund?" she said.

Meanwhile, a new group has been meeting every few weeks to represent the interests of a new concert hall in Ottawa and is fearful that losing the funds could sound the death knoll for the project.

"It would probably dig a hole for us too deep to get out of," group member Naomi Ridout told the CBC.

The group has been talking with landowners in downtown Ottawa about a concert hall potential site, but no progress has been made.