Old Town Hall loses tenant, another may be leaving

By Scott Costen

October was not a good month for Liverpool’s Town Hall Arts and Cultural Centre.

Upstairs tenant Evan Cameron informed Region of Queens he was leaving Oct. 25. Five days later, the municipality received notice from Acadia First Nation (AFN) that Sipuke’l Gallery would be closing in June 2019.

Both of these developments were noted in a draft document circulated at the Nov. 13 council meeting. However, the Observer has since learned the future of Sipuke’l Gallery remains up in the air.

In a social media message, AFN cultural officer Judy Boutilier said the fate of the Mi’kmaq arts and artifacts venue will be discussed at a board meeting next month.

Negotiations with the municipality could also be on the horizon. “It is anticipated that future discussions will occur with Acadia First Nation,” Mayor David Dagley said in an emailed statement.

As for the upstairs space, it has become something of a revolving door, with the past two tenants leaving before the scheduled end of their leases. In his agreement with Region of Queens, Cameron was made responsible for coordinating public use of the second floor, with specific focus on arts and culture. It is unclear how many activities or events took place during his 14-week tenure.

In exchange for performing these coordinator duties, Cameron was given exclusive use of the common workshop area, as well as shared use of the common display room and the multi-purpose room. He used the space to house a short-lived project called the Tandem Centre, which he described on social media as “committed to a culture of DIY learning, alternative media and promoting emerging artists.”

Dagley said municipal officials will review how space is utilized at the Old Town Hall. “The Municipality will take some time to reflect on the past uses of the facility, consult with past and current tenants, and consult more widely with the public later this fall or winter, to develop a long term vision for this facility, as part of our overall economic development strategy and downtown revitalization consultations.”