The Haliburton Highlands Arts Centre Foundation (HHACF) has hired a consulting firm to study how a performing arts centre could best fit into County life.

Janis A. Barlow and Associates, a Toronto-based arts consulting firm, will complete a multi-staged feasibility study determining where a performing arts centre could be located, submit design recommendations and assist in developing a business plan for long-term sustainability. Previously, the board estimated the centre would hold 350-500 people. “

I believe Janis Barlow is the most experienced consultant in theatre working in Canada today,” said HHACF board member Drew Allan at the foundation’s Oct. 21 AGM. “They have researched, built and studied theatres for the past 40 years across Canada.”

The feasibility study will cost $90,000. Chairperson Dan Manley said the group hopes a Canadian Heritage funding application will cover up to $45,000 of the final cost.

Local fundraising initiatives have garnered $9,420 in the past year, with CanoeFM signing on as the foundation’s media sponsor and donating $15,000 raised through the station’s radio bingo in July.


That’s not enough to fund the study. However, the contract with Barlow indicates a four-stage study. The first stage of work is already paid for.

“Essentially if this doesn’t work out with Canadian Heritage, part of the contract is we can freeze or pause work when funds are a bit short,” Manley said. “Once we get some more then we can move to the next phase.”

According to the board, the consultants will reach out to board-selected community stakeholders late in 2021, and then explore possible site locations, followed by conceptual architectural and design work, estimated to wrap up by 2023.

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