There are a number of proposals before District of Sooke council for recreational and cultural uses of parks and buildings. We all know that, in a perfect world, everyone would have the space they need to do what they love to do.
With the current council trying hard to fulfill its mandate of fiscal responsibility, it is next to impossible when there is always one group or another coming forward to ask for assistance — usually always in the form of money. The district already gives out community grants to the tune of about $60,000. They give out fee for service grants and they often dip into their contingency funds for further allocations of cash.
Council needs to be a better parent and learn to say ‘no’ once in awhile. The groups coming forward asking for funding are certainly worthy of it, but when the wallet is empty it’s empty. In these times of fiscal restraint, it is even harder to hold the bottom line but it has to be done and council has to be the parent here, not the over indulgent grandparent.
Most people want it all, they want a property tax rate they can afford, they want services, streetlights, sidewalks, boat launches and parks. This all costs money and we have delegated council to be the banker. When the account is overdrawn, the interest rates skyrocket, just like your tax rate. So be very cognizant of what you ask for because you pay for it in the end.
An arts centre is a worthy endeavor but perhaps this is not the time to be looking to council to purchase a commercial property. The property should be purchased by the groups who want to use it. If they don’t have the money, then they can’t afford the dream. Council needs to focus their dollars on their own priority list and to be firm about what they can do. They can’t or shouldn’t try to please everyone who comes forward with a new idea. Put it on the list to be looked at in the future and carry on with what you have deemed to be your priorities.