The Future of New Edinburgh House: Have Your Say!
The community is invited to participate in a meeting on Tuesday, April 18th at 7:00pm in the Community Room at 255 Mackay Street to discuss this important topic. If you wish to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613 745 2742.
AN IMPORTANT LETTER FROM NECTAR
As some in the community are aware, Nectar and its predecessor organization, the Crichton Cultural Community Centre (CCCC), have always been obliged to operate as non-profit, charitable organizations delivering programming and services for the community without any ongoing operational support from the municipal government. The only City-owned and supported facility in New Edinburgh is the Stanley Park Field House, which is not equipped to host the types of programs and services offered by Nectar, programs and services which are offered with City support in other communities throughout Ottawa.
Almost six years ago, the purchase of 200 Crichton was notionally considered to secure a home for community services and programming, but the process and terms for acquiring the building were simply too costly and onerous to overcome. Faced with the imminent collapse of our organization and loss of community programming when the building was acquired by The School of Dance, the Board worked with its partners at the MacKay United Church to acquire 255 MacKay Street (New Edinburgh House) as the main hub of operations, and to lease Memorial Hall at 39 Dufferin Street to house larger programming classes and events. The Board recognized that this was a costly rebuilding period for the organization, and that New Edinburgh House was really an interim plan to get the organization back on its feet for the next 5 years.
It is now a little over 5 years since that fateful time, and Nectar as an organization has made enormous strides since nearly folding. In addition to a thriving Afterschool Program, Playgroups, and Music Program, there has never been a more varied and extensive catalogue of Fitness and Leisure Programming on offer to the community. However, the transitional reserves the Board set aside for this costly rebuilding period over the past 5 years have now been depleted, and the organization has reached an important crossroads. After numerous discussions with City Parks & Recreation Staff, the City has definitively confirmed that its legal and regulatory framework rules out the possibility of providing operational support to New Edinburgh House, support that Nectar needs to remain financially sustainable.
In January 2017, the Nectar Board agreed to a forward-looking plan to address our current financial situation. The principal steps in our plan are:
1. Membership Campaign: Launch a new Membership Program to provide Nectar with a consolidated means to reach out to its base of users and stakeholders, and further bolster the Nectar community. This program is already garnering significant support from Nectar program participants and residents via a door-to-door campaign. For a token fee of $10 single and $25 family, members receive a monthly E-newsletter and event discounts, and perhaps most importantly, help Nectar continue providing quality programs to over 1000 people a year.
2. Program Needs Assessment Survey: Inform our facilities and staffing plan with the data/information obtained from the NECA-lead initiative to conduct a Community Program Needs Assessment Survey in the spring of 2017 to determine local residents’ programming priorities and preferences.
3. Possible Sale of New Edinburgh House: Revisit the need to retain New Edinburgh House in light of our current financial reality. Many in the community would deeply regret the loss of this welcoming, gracious house which has become a much loved community hub and home. Unfortunately, the lack of any roadmap towards ongoing operational support of this facility by City of Ottawa Parks & Recreation has resulted in the Board needing to take action in the coming months to explore a possible sale of this community asset. But before we move ahead with such a major step, we invite community members to join us in a conversation about the future of New Edinburgh House (see details below).
4. Transitional Move to MacKay United Church Facilities: Work in partnership with Mackay United Church to explore the possibility of hosting a larger share of Nectar operations within their facilities for a period of transition until a more permanent, sustainable home for our operations is identified. Discussions are underway and to date have been extremely productive.
5. Explore Options for a Permanent Home: Kick-start the process of looking for alternative solutions for a new location for Nectar so that New Edinburgh has a permanent, financially viable community centre and hub. In addition to the residual equity in New Edinburgh House (the result of the generous support from the Nectar community and stakeholders), Nectar presently has $250,000 of City of Ottawa capital invested in New Edinburgh House. The Board remains wholeheartedly committed to ensuring these investments made to our community remain within the community!
Nectar Board of Directors
Sean Flynn, Isobel Bisby, Cindy Ryley, Bethann Robin,
Seanna Kreager, David Horley, Jennifer Barbarie