Yukon News

Spreading the love: Art funds budgeted for new construction could be used around Whitehorse

Ashley Joannou Wednesday March 8, 2017

Ian Stewart/Yukon News

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A firefighter sculpture adorns the front entrance of the Whitehorse Public Safety Building. If Whitehorse’s new arts policy is approved, public art funded as part of the city’s new operations building could go anywhere in the city.

More than $350,000 in public art budgeted for Whitehorse’s proposed new operations building won’t actually have to go inside the building if the city’s new arts policy is approved next week.

Councillors got their first look at the proposed new policy at the March 6 council meeting. Last year city staff were asked to review the rules, which haven’t been updated since 2000, ahead of issuing the tender for the construction project.

Under the new policy, municipally-owned buildings and facilities that are “frequented by the general public” would continue to have one per cent of their construction costs set aside for art.

Linda Rapp, the city’s director of community and recreation services, confirmed after the meeting that includes the proposed new $47 million operations building.

In the case of the operations building an estimated $367,000 would be set aside for art. The new building would be part of the biggest construction project the city has ever tackled.

Construction costs exclude the price of site servicing, landscaping, furniture, fixtures and equipment and consulting costs.

The biggest difference in the updated policy is that not all of the money has to be spent on art inside or around the building in question.

While a portion of the cash could be used within the space “in addition, recommendations shall be made for the re-allocation of any remaining balances to projects on other publicly accessible spaces within the boundaries of the City of Whitehorse,” the new rules read.

The one per cent allocation is about on par with policies in other Canadian cities. But the idea of having to spend the whole amount on one building raised concerns among councillors ahead of the review.

The operations building will serve as a home for the city’s transportation, equipment maintenance, engineering, traffic, environmental sustainability, and water and waste services, as well as some human resources staff.

Exactly how the public art money will be spent will likely depend on recommendations from an ad hoc working group that will be created.

It is common for these groups, which include members of the arts community and the general public, to be created when the city is looking at buying art, Rapp told council. This is the first time they will be formally part of city policy.

The new committee will make recommendations for how that money should be spent, but the final decision will be up to city council.

It is difficult to get a sense for how council might vote on the proposed to policy. Very little discussion happened at the March 6 meeting. Three of the seven-member of council, including Coun. Dan Boyd, who proposed the policy review in the first place, were not at the meeting.

A vote is scheduled to take place next week.

Contact Ashley Joannou at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

7 Comments

Disgusted wrote:
10:06pm Sunday March 12, 2017

@wow my comment was sarcastic.  way to fail at reading comprehension.  I suppose its my fault for not putting a /s at the end.  Basically it was an attempt to rip on the fact that this little policy never came up for discussion in the past but now that it involves the O&M building its up for discussion and we’ll change the rules because why waste the money on art for “those” people right???  get it now?

WestofBelfast wrote:
10:40am Friday March 10, 2017

How about giving some consideration to a Sunday bus schedule?

Spence Hilltop wrote:
7:21pm Thursday March 9, 2017

Why not use the money to test city buildings for radon and to undertake remedial actions.

Why not use the money for more bylaw enforcement or just do not spend the money an allow a reduction in taxes?

Nile wrote:
6:54pm Thursday March 9, 2017

Or the Liberal Mayor and City Council could use this money to offset an increase in taxes.

wow wrote:
4:08pm Thursday March 9, 2017

@disgusted…..really, ‘lowest rungs’....the city workers, scrubs,  well then it must not matter that EVERYONE can see the art work outside the buildings,  and as for calling the hard back bone workers of the city scrubs, go scrub your mouth out.  Try to think more better of people in general.  These people help keep our city running, you sound pretty bad calling them down.  Shame…...

disgusted wrote:
8:43pm Wednesday March 8, 2017

why waste money on art for a bunch of scrub O&M workers right guys?  only the inflated egos of the bureaucrats are worthy of such expenditure.  they are deign to submit to the laws of land.  let us change the rules post-haste before the pleb caste gets a whiff of the upper crust.  spend the whole budget on the mayors office.  or the fat-cats at the wcb, might go nicely next to the new hot tub.  any solution is better then to waste such precious resources on the lowest rungs

james wrote:
5:16pm Wednesday March 8, 2017

How about using the money to reduce the overall cost of the building and our taxes. What a genius idea.

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