Sooke district council is relaunching the Sooke Program of the Arts committee.
The committee was dissolved in mid-2019 after the death of former councillor Brenda Parkinson, but last month councillors requested the committee reconsider options for the memorial sculpture at Whiffin Spit, forcing the re-establishment of the committee.
SPA is a long-standing committee with a mandate to develop a municipal arts program. The committee has proposed many beautification projects throughout the community since its inception in 2004.
Council hopes to create a new SPA committee with representation from the Sooke Arts Council, Sooke Region Historical Society, T’Sou-ke Nation, and up to five community members. Coun. Dana Lajeunesse will represent council.
Coun. Jeff Bateman pondered adding more community groups to the committee.
“It strikes me that creating seats for our established long term societies, involved in the arts, would be a way forward,” Bateman said.
Some on council, though, thought more members would make the committee awkward.
“I’m all for simplicity, a big cumbersome group tends to get bogged down,” Coun. Al Beddows said.
Mayor Maja Tait hopes the new SPA committee will look at more than just options for the Whiffin Spit memorial sculpture.
In 2019, the committee had eight projects under way, including the refurbishment of the Spirit Bear statue at Sooke Region Museum, beautification of the tourism kiosk at Evergreen centre and crosswalk art in the town centre.
“I just feel that there’s just a number of things loose ends dangling out in the community that need closure,” she said.
Bateman in reviewing past SPA committee minutes noted that the town centre crosswalks were a priority followed by the memorial wall and tourism kiosk.
“I would hope that this council would require this new committee to seriously look at those three items in particular,” he said.