Potential of Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation has always been self-evident

Depending on the culture into which a new idea is thrust, it can take months — or generations — to pass from inception to acceptance.

On Dec. 12, CBRM council will decide whether to approve New Dawn’s request for support for the Cape Breton Island Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation.

The Centre, which will provide modern and sustainable work and collaboration space for 150 artists and entrepreneurs in downtown Sydney, has already secured $3.2 million in provincial support and $5 million in federal support.

As we approach this date, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have been with us on this project from the beginning.

In 2012, as New Dawn contemplated this undertaking, many of you walked the empty halls of the former school and convent alongside us. When the purchase of the property was announced in May 2013, many of you joined us at the community celebration that ensued. When we undertook a feasibility study in 2014, you showed up to the workshops, and interviews, and town hall in incredible numbers. You joined with us in CBRM council chambers on all three of our visits there, and joined us as we celebrated the historic contributions of the two senior levels of government to this project.

For your enthusiasm, your encouragement, your passion for these buildings and this property, for sharing your memories of what these halls have held, for your ideas, and for your beautiful and unwavering belief in what just might be possible, I thank you.

I’ve been reflecting, as I’ve watched these municipal deliberations unfold, on the early days of Protocase. In 2001, when Protocase was launched, many more doors were closed to us than opened.

It was difficult for many of our local funders to see how a company like Protocase could work here — how innovative production approaches could meet a growing global custom manufacturing need in a place where the economy had suffered a serious decline.

Today, Protocase is a multi-million dollar company, with a workforce of more than 140, and over 12,000 customers that include the likes of NASA, Apple and Boeing. We are headquartered in Cape Breton, do all our production from three facilities in Cape Breton, and serve researchers, engineers and businesses all across the world.

Protocase and the Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation are new ideas; they are 21st-century ideas born into a place that is still learning how to practically support ideas that are at first unfamiliar.

Most new ideas must pass through a number of phases on their journey from inception to acceptance. Depending on the essence of the idea and the culture into which it is thrust, this can take months or it can take generations. These phases include ridicule (what a foolish idea), disagreement (that will never work/that isn’t how we do things) and finally self-evidence (what a great idea/why has it taken us so long to do this).

Today, the concept behind Protocase is seen, by almost everyone we encounter, as self-evident. This hasn’t always been the case. On behalf of the New Dawn board of directors, I want to say thank you to all of you for whom the necessity, the wisdom, and the potential of the Centre for Arts, Culture, and Innovation has always been self-evident.

Steve Lilley
CEO, Protocase
Chair, New Dawn Enterprises

Originally appeared in...

Cape Breton Post, December 8, 2017