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White Rock museum request 'a little late': mayor

A request by White Rock Museum & Archives executive director Sharon Oldaker for city funds to support a 100th-anniversary exhibit has been deferred by council in favour of exploring other options. - File photo
A request by White Rock Museum & Archives executive director Sharon Oldaker for city funds to support a 100th-anniversary exhibit has been deferred by council in favour of exploring other options.
— image credit: File photo

An appeal to the city for $25,000 to help the White Rock Museum & Archives mark the historic train station's 100th anniversary came "a little late in the (budgeting) process," Mayor Wayne Baldwin said.

Council voted last week to defer a decision on the request. Moments later, they voted to give final reading to the city's 2013-2017 financial plan bylaw.

The museum's request was sent to the city's director of leisure services last month.

In a Dec. 17 letter to Eric Stepura, museum executive director Sharon Oldaker explains the funds would help with plans for a summer exhibit "that centres around the station building and the history of the railway and its significance in shaping White Rock's story."

Oldaker describes the ask as a "one-time extraordinary request… to create a permanent, significant exhibit item for our gallery."

The item in mind, she adds, is a custom-made reproduction of the rear view of a caboose. It would be unveiled during anniversary celebrations.

In discussing a staff recommendation to refer the request to the city's public art advisory committee, at least two councillors Jan. 14 struggled with a suggestion the money could come from that committee's budget. It currently holds $100,000 – $50,000 for 2013 plus $50,000 held over from the 2012 budget.

Citing other public-art projects in the works and the museum's ongoing train-plaque campaign, Coun. Helen Fathers said she would prefer the $25,000 be found elsewhere.

"I have a hard time taking $25,000 out of the $50,000 (2013) public art budget," she said.

Coun. Larry Robinson also opposed the move.

"Is it (the public art budget) suddenly going to become the clearing house for literally everything to do with arts and culture?" he said, noting moves to promote the city as an arts community.

However, Coun. Louise Hutchinson, the city's liaison to the museum, described the project as one that "falls well into" the public art budget.

Coun. Al Campbell suggested exploring whether, if the funds were given, some could be recouped at a later date.

"Could we not recoup some of our costs… if they are successful with their plaques?"

A motion to defer the request until the options can be further reviewed carried unanimously, with Coun. Bill Lawrence absent. A recommendation to authorize staff to provide in-kind services to assist with the event also received unanimous support.

 

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