Support for Greater Victoria’s regional art installations is not unanimous – Sooke News Mirror
The idea of creating a regional service to plan, develop and fund performing arts facilities with regional impact received broad support, but not unanimous, around the capital regional district council table.
The board approved the $ 150,000 set aside for the project and directed staff to begin the process of establishing such a service, under the direction of a new committee that will be formed specifically for this purpose. This last point was a recommendation from a standing committee report, Step One: A Public Conversation on Performing Arts Facilities in CRD.
Although the idea has advanced, jointly paying for such a service requires a CRD regulation, requiring the approval of all member jurisdictions.
Several directors, including Lanny Seaton and Denise Blackwell of Langford, Mike Hicks of the electoral region of Juan de Fuca, Gary Holman of Salt Spring Island and Ryan Windsor of Central Saanich, opposed the idea.
Blackwell said his town already financially supports the arts on the West Coast and plans to build its own performance venue. She and Seaton said their board is unlikely to support financial sharing in a regional facilities plan.
Board chair Colin Plant suggested that all municipalities, including those already contributing to the arts in their own communities, could benefit from a regional service.
“That’s the whole point, that we will all benefit from it,” he said. “There’s no question that when Langford builds a facility, it will be a regional facility with 1,400 seats or 800 seats. It’s just inevitable.
While the creation of a service is necessary, he added, all CRD jurisdictions will be asked what precisely they would like to see before a settlement comes back to the CRD board.
While noting that his community strongly supports downtown arts facilities, Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch said costs and benefits must be clearly stated when the requisition is sent to CRD jurisdictions.
Director Susan Brice de Saanich recalled how, when the Royal Theater was in jeopardy, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria decided to purchase the regional facility, and the McPherson Playhouse was also brought into the fold of the CRD. Supporting current and future venues “is an important part of our growth, of our development, of our wholeness as a region,” she said.
Like Murdoch, she recognized that frank conversations will be needed once the details of the service are known, to ensure everyone is represented.
To learn more about the Stage One report, go online at bit.ly/3vi6myr.
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