Mill of Kintail museum may face closure after provincial cuts

We’ve received this disturbing news from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.

The MVCA has begun to review programs and services in order to manage new funding constraints imposed by Provincial Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act), passed in June 2019.

The legislation and a recent letter received from Minister Yurek emphasize the need for MVCA to focus on the following core areas:  risk of natural hazards; conservation and management of CA owned or controlled lands; drinking water source protection; and other programs or services, as prescribed by regulation.

Consequently, staff are reconsidering the direction set out in the Draft Strategic Plan prepared earlier this year for the Mill of Kintail Museum.  “The regulation expected this fall will likely limit core funding to these types of museums,” said MVCA general manager Sally McIntyre. “We need to discuss and agree on how we will keep this heritage building open for community use, and provide the community the opportunity to pursue other options and prepare an alternative business case for consideration by the MVCA Board. That discussion needs to occur now because the province will not release this year’s museum grant until the Strategic Plan “containing long-term goals and objectives” is approved by the Board.”

staff report to be tabled at the Policy & Priorities Committee on September 5 presents five options for consideration, including transitioning the museum focus away from the R. Tait McKenzie and James Naismith collections to more closely align with the legislated mandate of conservation authorities. 

“The Mill of Kintail building is a jewel in our portfolio. R. Tait McKenzie and James Naismith are persons of historical significance in the community, and the museum and its collection are highly regarded across the region.  Staff’s recommendation respect both these facts.” says McIntyre.

MVCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. Formed in 1968, the MVCA manages the watershed in partnership with its eleven member municipalities. For more information, visit www.mvc.on.ca, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

In examining the Mill of Kintail Museum, which focuses on the lives, philosophies, and accomplishments of two local residents, it was concluded that the current focus and collection do not meet the core mandate of CAs and will likely no longer qualify for Municipal Levy funding when new regulations take effect, expected sometime in 2021.  A Museum Strategy is needed that addresses the direction and financial impacts of these legislative changes.

MVCA staff will be presenting options to the Policy & Priorities Committee at its September 5 meeting at 10:00 am and to the Board of Directors at its meeting on Wednesday, September 18 at 1:00 pm, both of which will be held at the MVCA office at 10970 Highway 7, Carleton Place. Both meetings are open to the public.

Those wishing to speak to the staff report (download) at the September 5 meeting shall register and provide any accompanying material if applicable no later than Wednesday, September 4 at 12:00 pm to Community Relations Coordinator Shannon Gutoskie at sgutoskie@mvc.on.ca.