LISA HOPELESS – Next up we have a plan to turn the former Maritime Museum building in Bastion Square into a shared arts space. Arts & Culture Guy, perhaps you’d like to explain more.
ARTS & CULTURE GUY – If you look at the slide show I have prepared, you will see that other cities such as Calgary and Winnipeg already have successful versions up and running of what is being proposed.
LISA HOPELESS – And council should certainly know by now just how much I love to copy ideas from other cities. Councillor Maddog, as our resident heritage expert, perhaps you’d like to fill us in with a little background information.
COUNCILLOR MADDOG – Certainly, Lisa. Built in 1889, Nineteen Bastion Square served as British Columbia’s first courthouse until 1964 when the building became the home of the Maritime Museum which lasted another fifty years. Since 2014, however, one of Victoria’s most historic buildings has stood empty, leaving a hole in the heart of old town.
COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – It is my understanding that the province owns the building and it needs to be seismically upgraded.
COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – And while it is all well and good for the mayor to talk about creating an arts hub, let’s make sure the project doesn’t in fact turn into a money pit. The city sinks $700,000 into the McPherson Playhouse each and every year. We’d be well-advised to not repeat the same mistake.
COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – Perhaps if Councillor Curmudgeon had a greater appreciation of the arts he might be aware that artists in the city are having a tough time finding affordable studio space.
COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – Rather ironic, don’t you think?
COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – What do you mean?
COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – The mayor is always getting on her hobby-horse about how increased density is making the city more vibrant, and yet the seemingly most vibrant members of society—i.e. artists—can’t find a space to practice their craft.
COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – Well, I for one fully support the initiative to turn the Maritime Museum into an arts centre. I’m also happy to see that the plans include provision for a coffee shop.
COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – Let it never be said that the City of Victoria denied a starving artist the right to a four dollar pumpkin spice latte.