The belt-tightening at Tom Davies Square in Sudbury appears to have gotten underway with the draft budget and one proposed cut is not going over well with a group of citizens.
The Anderson Farm Museum Heritage Society said it was shocked to hear from city officials that it would be losing the curator. City officials are proposing cutting the funding for position of curator to Anderson, Rayside-Balfour, Copper Cliff and Flour Mill.
"Definitely was kind of a kick to the gut and definitely something we're not looking forward to dealing with and COVID's already been tough enough for us and now with big cuts to the budget and all that sort of thing has not been great," said society president Eric Benoit.
The volunteer board was informed of the decision on Jan. 21. According to members, the area councillor was told the following day but was told by then, the deadline for public submissions had already passed.
"A big part of the curator's job is to maintain the artifacts and the buildings and a lot of these artifacts are 50, 60, 100 years old," said Benoit. "If you leave them alone for a year without any kind of care, what sort of condition are they going to be in a year from now?"
Forging ahead without a curator is nothing new for the society who had to face this issue back in 2005.
"This has happened before and there was a lot of vandalism and damage to the site. There were windows broken and there were fires set to the buildings. Our sauna on site was burnt down which has yet to be replaced," said the society's Leslee Salo. "The group has been soliciting public support and is already in the process of getting letters from area supporters and politicians.
Councillor Michael Vagnini would have two of the affected museums in his ward (Anderson and Copper Cliff). He tells CTV News he is 100 per cent against the cut.
"I think it is really terrible that we would touch our history in our community," said Vagnini. "When you look at this place, this is the icon, the beacon, there are so many events that have occurred here."
While there is still the issue of the pandemic, Vagnini said the city still has enough money to keep the museums going and to protect our heritage.
"I hope when we talk about being the 'greater', I hope that we see all of them and the two that we have in this ward are seen as mainstays. Christmas time, when that tree lights up, you know Santa is coming," he added. "We're picking little things when we have all sorts of money going downtown which I don't regret but in the rural areas let us keep what we have," he added.
"These things (artifacts) are old, they need specialized care and someone who has an expertise in these matters is vital," said Benoit.
The group is asking concerned residents to contact their city councillors and the mayor ahead of this month's budget meeting on February 24th.