Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ottawa seniors ‘hit between the eyes’ with skyrocketing pottery charges

The tight-knit group has supported one another by means of dying and sickness. Now Myrna Lightman worries some will not have the ability to afford courses.

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In the event you’ve not too long ago heard a loud shriek of shock in Nepean, it may have been Myrna Lightman, when she found the price for her beloved hand-building pottery studio class was rising by greater than double.

“I’m stunned you didn’t hear the shriek,” Lightman mentioned in an interview. “It was an actual shocker.”

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In late January, she obtained discover that the price for her pottery studio class can be rising to over $450, earlier than tax and her 10 per cent senior’s low cost.

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Lightman is a hand-builder, which means she makes mugs, sculptures, collectible figurines and extra with only a slab of clay and her palms, no wheel required. What’s extra, these “studio” courses are for skilled potters, and don’t have an teacher.

And whereas Lightman realizes sustained ranges of excessive inflation have hit all facets of life, from groceries to fuel to pottery clay, “you possibly can’t justify that,” she mentioned of the numerous per cent enhance. “You simply can’t.”

The Metropolis of Ottawa, although, says it has seen “exponential development” in individuals taking its pottery courses over the following decade. “The expense of pottery provides, together with chemical substances, specialised tools and kiln repairs and elements, have elevated considerably over time, whereas will increase to the restoration charges have been minimal compared,” defined Dan Chenier, supervisor of town’s recreation, cultural and household providers, by way of e-mail.

Studios additionally require the experience of a technician to fireside the items, which provides a “vital however essential price to the service,” Chenier mentioned, and that the present price “solely minimally covers the continuing operational prices.”

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He added entry to pottery services “is just not meant to be a core sponsored municipal service, and there’s no tax funding devoted to offset the price of consumer entry.”

Chenier mentioned the rise to $450 can be phased in over 4 years. For the 2024 spring session, the worth is $330 for 10 three-hour classes.

Lightman has been attending pottery courses on the Nepean Visible Arts Centre for over 20 years, forging life-long friendships with a bunch of devoted potters. Lots of the potters are retirees, dwelling on fastened incomes, she mentioned.

“Many individuals live alone, they’re widowed, or their husbands have Alzheimer’s illness,” she mentioned. “That is their break from actuality, to get into the studio to decompress.”

The group can be a spot the place newcomers make buddies over the shared bond of pottery.

Through the years, the tight-knit group has supported one another by means of dying, sickness and extra. However now Lightman worries some gained’t have the ability to afford courses.

“It’s extra than simply doing pottery. We’re a help community. We’ve develop into a household. You may’t put a worth on that.”

Lightman says the price will increase ought to have been raised incrementally over the previous three years.

“It is a city-owned operation,” she says. “Why are taxpayers being penalized like this? You may’t simply hit somebody between the eyes like that.”

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