Press release – Update on the John-Sleeth Cultural and Community Centre situation

Sutton, February 9, 2021— The Town of Sutton Council wishes to bring everyone up to date with the current situation of the John-Sleeth Cultural and Community Centre in order to answer questions and reassure citizens as well as the Centre’s occupants.

No decision made

As has been said on numerous occasions, no choice has yet been made by the Council—neither officially nor unofficially—about whether to renovate or demolish the Centre and rebuild. The stakes are far too important from a financial and community point of view for any decision to be taken lightly. While sensitive to the concerns of those attached to the Centre’s premises, the Council has always been clear on its intention to consult the population before making the final choice.

Numerous studies for ten years

The board notes that a multitude of independent studies have been carried out over the past ten years about the John Sleeth Centre, some on the Centre’s role, other more technical studies on its condition and even its heritage value. However, no previous council has made a formal decision on the future of the building nor invested enough to bring it up to minimum standards. The current council, in addition to having carried out work to ensure the health and safety of the Centre’s users, requested fresh expert inputs in order to gain a precise and up-to-date inventory and assess the costs of a renovation. These new studies and other relevant reports will be made public the week of February 15.

An inevitable relocation of occupants

In November 2019, a windstorm tore off pieces of the roof, forcing the temporary evacuation of the five tenant organizations. This episode highlighted the fragility of the building and the need to take concrete actions. The Town then began a process of relocating all its occupants, as a first step to handling the file. Whether the John Sleeth Centre is renovated or rebuilt, the building must first be gutted. This is why the council issued a directive that the five tenant organizations be relocated by September 2021.

Concerted and transparent action with the organizations concerned

Since the end of 2019, the Town has been in direct contact with each of the five organizations that occupy the building: the Sutton Volunteer Centre, the Arts Sutton Gallery, the Bibliothèque Sutton Library, the Jardin d’enfants de Sutton and the Sutton Youth Centre. Discussions and meetings—jointly and individually—have taken place and will continue to be held with these organizations in order to assess future relocation possibilities. The Town intends to listen to the needs and proposals of all the tenants in order to come up with satisfactory solutions for everyone. We therefore invite citizens and stakeholders interested in the future of the Centre to remain on the lookout for further communications from the municipality on this matter of importance to us all.

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Mr. Michel Lafrance
Sutton’s Mayor
[email protected]
Tel.: 450 538-2290