The Rooms to reduce opening times, staff after budget cuts

Tara Bradbury
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The Rooms on Bonaventure Avenue in St. John’s houses the provincial archives, art gallery and museum. — File photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The Rooms will reduce its public hours and decrease its staff as a result of Tuesday’s provincial budget.

Funding for the provincial corporation, which generally goes towards the acquisition, conservation and preservation of art, artifacts and archival records, was cut from $7 million to $5.95 million.

In an emailed statement provided to The Telegram Wednesday, a spokeswoman for The Rooms said every possible option for implementing the $1.05 million reduction in the operating grant is being explored with a goal of minimizing the effect on visitors.

“All aspects of (The Rooms) operations are being considered; however, a reduction in operating hours and staffing levels in unavoidable,” said Deanne Fisher, director of marketing and development.

The province’s arts and culture centres also saw a minimal cut in funding, from $2.36 million to $2.2 million.

Funding for the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC), which provides grants to local visual and performing artists and arts organizations, saw its funding remain the same, at $2.1 million.

“We understand that this budget will present specific challenges to the cultural community, and broader challenges to Newfoundland and Labrador overall,” said Tom Gordon, chairman of the arts council.

“Council has followed through on a strategic review process to ensure its activities, programs, and administration have been conducted in an effective and efficient way. We believe the provincial budget that has been tabled reflects government’s confidence in the priorities that have been established by the NLAC, based on our public consultations.”

The maximum amount for the Film and Video Tax Credit was increased from $3 million to $4 million, in an effort to encourage the continued development of the thriving local film industry, the government said in a news release. This means a continued investment in the TV series “Republic of Doyle.”

The income tax credit, which is refundable, is given to any eligible local film or television project at a rate of 40 per cent of eligible local labour costs, not exceeding 25 per cent of the total cost of production. It’s an equity investment, based on other funding sources.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, The Rooms

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Doyle

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Recent comments

  • Molly
    April 02, 2013 - 09:09

    Why not have 2 entrance fees ,one for the museum and one for the so so called art.Only the inner circle of the artists get in ,the hundreds excellent independant artists don't get a look in The time has come for this inner circle to pay their own way, instead of always coming with their hands out...

  • Molly
    April 02, 2013 - 09:05

    Why not have 2 entrance fees ,one for the museum and one for the so so called art.Only the inner circle of the artists get in ,the hundreds excellent independant artists don't get a look in The time has come for this inner circle to pay their own way, instead of always coming with their hands out...

  • Art Star Willy
    March 30, 2013 - 11:49

    If only there was a journalist who could dig into what's really going on at the Rooms. Example, print the "paid for" entrance numbers - and also find out who is paying to go there to specific areas. Would love to know if the general public pay to see some of that idiotic "conceptual" art. Can an NL'er get a job in the upper echelons there?

  • BIP
    March 29, 2013 - 21:00

    We are so fortunate to have this wonderful cultural institution - The Rooms - and now the government is already cutting costs. For the people of Newfoundland this is an important place. But also for the tourists who are being seduced to come here by fanciful TV advertising. I still have to see The Rooms being included in any of those commercials though. Cutting staff at The Rooms is a very bad idea. There isn't enough staff as it is. Many of the exhibitions could benefit from having a knowledgable person around to explain questions visitors might have. Still, The Rooms is a heaven in this blustery city and we need more programming there not less. And more financial support not less.

  • Bob Forsey
    March 29, 2013 - 13:13

    If you are aware of the larger picture of how political parties try to shape economies to their financial advantage, this is but another episode in the never-ending story of "Tory Times are Hard Times". From the great depression (1930's) onward, the Progressive Conservatives quickly herald austerity as its major economic strategy with tax cuts on the wealthy and major corporations, while at the same time reducing government funding and cutting social programs and arts funding. Tax cuts for the vested corporate interests, preservation of tax havens in the Bahamas, Switzerland and around the world. The stock market is booming today, while Federal and Provincial governments are in the red. NL is no longer a Have Province. Does the phrase "Poverty in the midst of Plenty" ring a bell. This is no accident of fate and timing in economic history. It is a deliberate Tory plan to cut funding of governments (lower taxes to create a need to cut social programs and lay off staff). Create more unemployment, turn full-time jobs into part-time and drive down wages everywhere. After all, jobs produce competition and wage inflation. PM Harper turned a Federal Budget surplus into a deficit in less than 2 years and Premier Dunderdale has done the same here. And the tune is always the same, "There's nothing surer, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." And the on-going sideshow is corruption breaking out in high places in business and government. Power more than tends to corrupt, If I revise Lord Acton's quote slightly, it grows and concentrates wealth.

  • david
    March 29, 2013 - 12:02

    So we don't have the money to keep 'Danny World' open ?! Quel surprise! You can ignore basic needs and instead spend a fortune building fancy palaces and statues. Anddoing so might brainwash people into believing they are something they're not.....but in the end, money always ends up in the hands of those who were meant to have it, and people reveal themselves to be who they really are. And we are now completely the most maddening, hopeless way possible.

  • tony miller
    March 28, 2013 - 19:14

    Isnt the government forking out a few million for upgrades and renos to the grounds of the rooms? So the look outside is more important than the jobs and history inside? This government needs to get their priorities straight

  • tom
    March 28, 2013 - 15:07

    Nflder's paid for the Rooms and I think they are understaffed. They run GREAT programs for school aged kids who would get little history without them. So they took $1 million from the Rooms and gave it to the film industry. Next they will be looking to privatize it. Idiots.

  • Tom
    March 28, 2013 - 14:36

    I have just realized with all of the cuts to our provincial budget that I am no longer the proud Newfoundlander that I was just a few short years ago which now seem like an eternity.With all of the painting our government is putting on the wall of our rooms and the COD it seems they have an agendy to destroy the working poor and disabled.It seems to me that years ago to meet a Politian was a big thing but it seems to me now that if you meet a Politian now what"s the deal.Anyone can use a credit card but when we get the bill come that's when we learn some of our deals weren't that great.

  • Al
    March 28, 2013 - 13:41

    How else do you expect the juveniles in the Govt to handle their mismanagement? Ofcourse it has to be on the backs of libraries, arts, culture and everything that separates humans from the rest. I am NOT voting PC ever

  • MC
    March 28, 2013 - 10:11

    The Rooms is a depositary of Newfoundland history and culture. I, like many others, use their facilities on a very regular basis. In my opinion they do not have enough staff to carry out the work necessary to handle and care for the vast inventory of historical and cultural material currently in their care. Yet, the staff carry out their duties in a most respectful and professional manner, always helpful to the public who visit the Rooms. So our government will lay off staff and reduce visiting hours to the public. Do they intent to eliminate evenings and weekends hours? By doing so the common man and woman, the working stiffs paying their taxes, are denied access the Rooms. Only the unemployed and retired will be able to access the facilities. Oh yes, speaking of the retired, now they intend to nickel and dime their way out of this financial mess by forcing seniors and students to pay full fare for entry. Clearly anyone with the most basic financial background can see how millions of dollars can be saved by picking the pockets of our seniors and students. Brilliant Cathy, really brilliant! Ms. Dunderdale and Mr. Kennedy, shame on you. Which one of you came up with this idea? Its bad enough that you allow our Canadian brothers and sisters from the mainland to rewrite and distort our history textbooks and to bastardize and fictionalize our history through film and literature. Now you neglect and restrict our history and our culture to Newfoundlanders. I guess we now have to rely on TV programs like the Republic of Doyle to preserve our history and culture. Oh yes, let us not forget the arts community. I am sure they will fill the gap. Yeah, right! Ms. Dunderdale and Mr. Kennedy, shame on you. You will not have my vote the next time around. In fact may heaven help the sorry individual or representative from your party who knocks on my door looking for my vote. Rest assured they will receive a verbal rant that will put Rick Mercer to shame

  • mainlander
    March 28, 2013 - 09:45

    All 1200+ layoff are due totally to government mismanagement. Do they have any clue what they are doing? They acted like a bunch of idiots that just won the lottery and went on a spending spree & had all the money gone within a few months. I wonder how much "deadwood" got pink slips this week versus young, educated people with young families. I think we all know the answer to that! And I'm usually a PC supporter!

  • a supporter
    March 28, 2013 - 09:32

    Yes Lilly I do agree with what you are saying with the Republic of Doyle,I am a supporter of the Arts as my child is involved so much with music,but in saying that I would rather see the cuts to these kind of programs then take away from our Health Care,our police force,fire fighters and the pensions that people paid into their whole lives that they worked.Maybe all these cuts should start from the top do we really need all these people working in our government, Do we need all these City of St John,s counselors who by the way are already getting full time pensions,another thing is why are these people who already have full government pensions even allowed to take on another full time job with the government when there are so many younger people out there looking for jobs.There are a lot of older people out there working at jobs as teachers Aides that are 50-60 collecting pensions maybe it's time for the government to stop this greediness and let the younger one have a chance.

    • Brad
      March 28, 2013 - 10:47

      Actually, things like ROD subsidy are a good thing. That $4 million gets re-invested into the economy for hiring people, who pay taxes back in to the NL coffers. Would you rather these people be sucking EI not paying any taxes while your taxes go up? Meanwhile, things like Health Care only consume resources, not produce. I am not saying Health Care is not important, but why not invest in something like ROD when you know you're getting money back and then some.

    • Lilly
      March 28, 2013 - 12:59

      @Brad I'm not saying don't invest in ROD... if anything, leave their funding the same and give the million bucks back to The Rooms.

  • Lilly
    March 28, 2013 - 08:30

    So let me get this straight... The museum lost 1.05 MIllion costing people their jobs while Republic of Doyle... a wildly popular TV show that I'm sure if benefiting from its new time slot on sundays with increased Advertising revenues, gets more money?? Something isn't right about this...

    • Danny
      March 28, 2013 - 09:31

      Ok ok I get now...Photo op $1 million to combat lay off 4 "Doyle" will be handling extra cases!!

  • S
    March 28, 2013 - 07:16

    While I am a member who rarely gets to the Rooms, I am very supportive of the Wed night opening - as it is free and gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the rooms and there are often great special events. I much prefer going on an evening than daytime - although occasionally I get there on the weekend. Also, more local art please.