Candidate: Dharmesh Patel
Position: Deputy Mayor
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
The opportunities are only limited by us. We have the resources and talent available to grow all of those sectors. By working together and collabarating with all of the regions in our area we can attract new festivals and more people from outside the region. Leamington has just added a new amphitheatre, waterfront development going on, a new plan to revitalize the uptown including the all-new Bank Theatre! Point Pelee is investing millions in upgrades to the park combined with new bike paths are all the more reason to invest in our region.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
By providing the tools and necessary infrastructure and attracting the right festivals and shows I feel we can retain existing artists and attract new ones.
What role do you see for arts and culture in the promotion of the region both as a destination for tourists and as a place of permanent residence for youth, families, and retirees?
It’s an important one. By having the right programs in place and working with all the departments involved as well as the community we can ensure our area is visited by tourists and attract new residents looking to get away from the City life but still able to enjoy all the great things such as theatre and fine dining.
In what other ways could you use your position as an elected official to help support the arts, culture and heritage sector outside of using municipal funding?
By ensuring that we work with community partners to form strategic partnerships that allow us to raise funding needed to enhance and build on current programs and infrastructure. As well, making sure that we successfully apply for any grants etc available from other levels of government.
What is your perspective on the best ways to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure sustainability and growth for the cultural sector of our community?
Open lines of communication. It never hurts to ask – the worst they are going to say is no. But you’ll never know unless you try.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
To be honest this is an area that I’m now getting into and hoping to become more involved in. Until now I’ve been busy and in raising a family and working and it just hasn’t been part of my agenda. Now that I’ve grown older and matured I’m starting to find an interest in the arts and hoping that we are able to attract shows like Cirque de Soleil!