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On August 16 PRAC emailed and asked the candidates for Regional Chair and Pickering Council:
PineRidge Arts Council, Durham West Arts Centre Inc. and DWAC Foundation wonder if elected, if you/will you, continue Council's support of an arts centre in Pickering?


  • PineRidge Arts Council Inc., (PRAC) a non-profit volunteer organization, formed in 1989, has been dedicated to enhance the quality of life within the community by developing widespread appreciation, support and involvement in the arts.
    PRAC is a founding partner of Artfest, run two juried art shows (Fine Art and Photography) in Ajax each year, publish a newsletter ArtScene six times per year (latest copy on-line HERE, the Art in Public Places programme places original works in local businesses, OPG Info Centre and McLean CC. PRAC also assists members with event and project funding (up to $300).

  • In 2003 Durham West Arts Centre Inc. (DWAC) was incorporated.
    Our Mission is to support, promote and present world-class, contemporary arts and culture. Through education, presentation and partnership we will continue to develop awareness and engagement in the arts, increase our audience and membership, be sustainable and champion the intrinsic need of arts and culture to our community.
    DWAC has had offices in both Pickering Village and Pickering, hosted an art show with an original Tom Thomson, initiated many programmess and events eg Reading and Remembrance, Pickering Farmers' Market with Pickering Town Centre and operated a pottery studio.

  • DWAC Foundation (since 2006)
    Our mandate is to organize, plan, design, fund, contract for, and build a performing and visual arts centre in the western part of the Durham Region, for the benefit of the citizens and arts community in the Durham Region.
    On the Foundation site you can read the 2012 study HERE and on the home page, The commitment of City Council to the Pickering City Centre Project, which includes a performing and visual arts centre.


John Mutton ~ Yes! While it is a local initiative, the arts centre for Pickering would do wonderful for our economy as I am an advocate of the Ec Dev. that comes from the rise of the creative class.
As Regional Chairman, I will be pleased to allocate some Regional Revitalization funds and waive the development charges for the project as well as put forward tax free status for the arts centre.

Tom Dingwall ~ Without question, I do support the Pickering Arts Centre.
Artistic and cultural initiatives such as this provide attractive and valuable venues for active community participation and can promote a greater awareness of the artistic, social and cultural diversity that make up Durham Region’s community of communities.
In whatever ways we may differ as individuals, bringing a community together in a positive and enlightening environment strengthens our unity while supporting our differences. In a region as large and diverse as Durham, this can only make us stronger.
If I am fortunate enough to win the election for Durham Regional Chair, I look forward to the opportunity to work with the Arts and Cultural communities across Durham Region to leverage existing success stories and to find ways to strengthen Durham Region even more.

John Henry ~ Yes, I’m supportive of your effort. Should I be elected Regional Chair, I will work with the Mayors and Councils of both Pickering and Ajax, along with my Regional Council colleagues, to provide any appropriate supports which fall within the Region’s wheelhouse – and its means. Such supports at the local and/or Regional level could range from development or tax treatment considerations to other tangible or in-kind supports. While I cannot personally pledge or earmark the Region’s funds (no candidate can do this) – as a current Regional Councillor, candidate, or as a potential future Regional Chair– I am committed to assisting the PRAC, the DWAC Foundation and their stakeholders to every extent possible on this community initiative. Please extend my best wishes and appreciation to your colleagues and dedicated volunteers for their vision and ongoing efforts in our Region’s vital cultural space.
Should you have further questions or wish to speak further, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Muhammad Ahsin Sahi ~ I support Art but I believe that not a single penny from taxpayer's money should be spent without thorough and open debate.


Dave Ryan ~ my commitment is unwavering and I believe every member of Council feels the same. You will see the Arts Center in my campaign literature.

Wesley Henry ~ Most definitely. I'm 100% committed.

Eileen Higdon ~ Absolutely the difference would be there would be a woman at the table cheering on the Pickering Arts Community.



Kevin Ashe ~ 100 % support 

Robert Jones ~ My number one concern for Pickering is 100% its people and our quality of life. The arts, sports, environment, etc help to make up a large portion of most peoples lives. I have no plans to cut funding to any of these. As residents we both can appreciate the fact that our taxes are far to high. In fact our municipality is among the fifth highest in all of Ontario. My plans are to weed out the wastes in spending, and lower our taxes without affecting the services we love and rely on. Their are some very big changes coming to our city in the following years, and I need and appreciate input from folks like yourself, lots of input, to help build an even better Pickering. Inclusive to and for all.
I hope this answers your concerns, and please forward any other questions you may have.

Haidar Furozuni ~ I would support the Centre as I see it as a community builder that will make us stronger. I am all about community building as long as it doesn't isolate citizens based on their religion or race. I will look forward working with you in the future.

Lisa Robinson ~ Yes I am 100% in support of the Arts Centre and the important role it plays in the growth and well being of our community. Should I be fortunate to represent my constituents come October I will look forward to meeting with you to see how I can continue to help and support the arts. Thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me anytime. My number is 416.970.5906 or please email me.

Maurice Brenner ~ 200% YES
One of my priorities if you check out my Web Mandate.

Clyde Taffe ~ If elected you have my full and total support for the Arts Center.

Musa Mansuar ~ Yes, I do support an Arts Centre. I would also support other creative measures such as an arts and culture incubator to provide services, mentoring and resources to aspiring young artists in Pickering and the Durham Region. Over the past 5-10 years, we've had a tremendous amount of artists in the music and film industry come out of the Durham Region. We need to do more at the community level to support these talented local artists achieve their aspirations.

Usha Chahar ~ Absolutely I will support Art Centre in Pickering.
I believe that arts in all its form transcend every boundary and unify people of all backgrounds. I will be committed to ensure that City of Pickering have an Art Centre.

Tony Harold ~
With respect to an arts centre, I would support the construction of same, as I agree that we do not currently have a proper venue for theatre and art exhibits. However, I recognize and have heard, loud and clear, from a vast number of residents that they are very concerned with the current property tax levels that they incur each year. To that end, we must be very careful and judicious when expending any city monies. In the case of the art centre, any city revenues invested in an art centre should be done in the form of an investment with specific terms and conditions to ensure a proper fiscal return to the city in the shortest possible period. Revenues generated after the payback of the investment thereafter should ensure that the art centre is a profitable entity and would contribute revenue to the city to help stabilize taxes for residents.
There are also other avenues that can be successfully undertaken to bring an art centre to fruition. For example, seeking out a private partnership, such as what was done in Markham at the Flato theatre (Flato Developments and a myriad of other corporate sponsors contribute significantly to the cost of the theatre) would be a consideration for construction funding and ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs.
If elected, I would be happy to work with the PineRidge Arts Council, the Durham West Arts Centre Inc., and the Durham West Arts Council Foundation to assist in the developing of funding partnerships with area businesses.

Bill McLean ~ YES

Gary Strange ~ As Vice Chair of the Durham West Arts Centre Foundation, my passion and commitment to see a Visual and Performing Arts Centre built in downtown Pickering is unparalleled.
The opportunity to bring the arts of the world to Durham Region and the arts of Durham Region to the world in a world class facility is something that is desperately needed in West Durham. This facility would allow for our residents to not only attend performances and exhibits but also to be a community hub through arts programming, rehersal space and much needed banquet and meeting room facilities.
I became attracted to this project during the initial discussions about our Downtown Intensification and feel that this would be a signature facility that would define Pickering. I worked tirelessly with the other members of the Foundation to get a 7-0 vote by Pickering Council to support the project and up until this election was working on next steps to get the shovels in the ground to finally build what many of us have dreamed about for years.
If elected, I will continue to champion this project and thank the membership of PRAC and DWAC for their continued support and dedication to the cause!

Sari Sarieddine ~ Rest assured, I am 100% in support of an arts centre here in Pickering! I'd be more than happy to with with you and those involved to see it happen!

Tanya Foster ~ Arts in the community is one of my many passions. It isn’t just an option it’s a source of expanding on the creative abilities that we naturally possess. I will be in support to ensure the creative talents of our young and older participants are pushed to support the innovation and abilities to support of creative arts centre for Pickering.


Damian Williams ~ Arts are an integral part of any society; while some would beg to differ, most know the importance of continuing to support arts will make us stronger as a community.
Once elected I would undertake the responsibility of making it known among my fellow council members that it is paramount to support the Arts Centre in Pickering.

Dave Pickles ~ I appreciate the great work that the PineRidge Arts Council does to encourage and promote the arts in our community. Arts is an important part of a complete community and I support the work of the Durham West Arts Centre Inc. And Foundation to establish an Arts Centre in Pickering. If I have the good fortunate of being re-elect you can count on my continued support for the arts and Arts Centre.

Ali Naqvi ~ I will continue supporting the council as I have been to many events in ward 3 and Pickering! I am a big supporter of arts & culture and will continue showing up to events in future if elected!

Nadia Peerzada ~ Yes I will support the Arts Centre in Pickering, as it is important to continue to support and strengthen the community.

Shaheen Butt ~ You have my full support for the Arts Centre and one hundred percent commitment to helping your vision come to fruition in the near future. Having an Arts Centre in Pickering will bring out our City’s unique and hidden talents within from our youth to seniors. This is beneficial for all ages.

Peter Rodrigues ~ Yes, I support an Arts Centre in Pickering. The arts of all kinds are a vital part of every community. They enhance the quality of life of residents for both their aesthetic values and for the promotion of our city. A multi-purpose centre devoted to all aspects of the arts has long been an unsatisfied need in our community. I look forward to its development and it becoming a reality.




Since 1989 PineRidge Arts Council Inc., a non-profit volunteer organization has been dedicated to enhance the quality of life within the community by developing widespread appreciation, support and involvement in the arts.

PineRidge Arts Council
650 Kingston Road
P.O. Box 18258 Steeple Hill Postal Outlet
Pickering, Ontario L1V 1A0

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