There have been a lot of letters to the editor lately regarding a city staff proposal to build a new museum in Richmond. Council recently clarified this issue, but I feel it’s important to extend the conversation for all our residents.
Firstly, let me say I feel the $59-million projected price tag of a full “bells and whistles” museum to be completely outlandish during these difficult economic times. People are having trouble making ends meet and taxes have been edging upwards. Is this the right time to build such a facility? I think common sense says no.
What I will say though is that a museum, of some to be determined price tag and scope, may have a place in the future of our growing city. That doesn’t mean tomorrow, but down the line a facility could provide benefits. That’s why the city keeps a list of capital projects for future consideration. It’s a laundry list of capital projects, from roads to dykes, from public safety to fire protection and from parks to a yes, a museum.
What I do believe is that we need to set priorities for this list responsibly. My first priority is a new seniors centre. The one we have now is old, small, and outdated. Another priority would be to renovate and add to the pool facilities at Minoru that have served us so well these many years and are now in need of reinvestment. In addition, of course, our fire and police investments must remain a top priority, such as the No 1 Fire Hall. A museum? That’s way down the list for me.
In saying all that, these are your tax dollars. That’s why I’ve always supported asking the public for your priorities. Whether that’s through a referendum, or broad based public consultation, you deserve to have a say in where your tax dollars are being spent.
So feel free to continue voicing your opinion on a museum in Richmond. In my view, it’s a long way off given the other critical priorities we need to
address in our city.
Richmond First Councillor
As published in the April 19, 2013 edition of the Richmond Review