April 15, 2014 - 2:23 PM
KAMLOOPS - It's a showdown between the arts and heritage commissions—staff want them to merge to help offset low meeting turnouts but some members say they are concerned their voices won't be heard if it goes through.
Council was set to discuss the merger earlier this month but heritage commission members are concerned it will make the group too large and the duties too broad and asked to have the item put off to another meeting so they can make a presentation to council.
“(Some members) joined the Heritage Commission as volunteers and are not comfortable with the merger,” Chair Andrew Yarmie said in a letter to council. “The Heritage Commission has a good track record over the last 34 years and residents look to that title for heritage issues.”
Back in January when the group first learned of the proposed merger they were told it would draw upon the strong links between the two groups to improve the visibility of all arts, culture and heritage matters before council. They were also told the budget is set to be merged as well, but will be distributed equitably, and the new Cultural Commission will be composed of 11 voting positions.
Parks Director Byron McCorkell noted it has been hard for both groups to maintain a quorum and the merger would be beneficial to both. There is also the possibility of having subcommittees work on projects such as selecting heritage sites.
While council was split on whether to table the issue councillors Donovan Cavers, Arjun Singh, Tina Lange, Marg Spina and Nelly Dever all agreed to wait and give the commission a chance to speak before making any final decisions.
The Heritage Commission is made up of eight citizens at large and one councillor and five members are needed for a quorum. The group is responsible for items within the scope of the Heritage Conservation Act such as recommendations on the designation, preservation or alterations of heritage buildings.
The Arts Commission is comprised of six citizens at large, one member of the Arts Council and one councillor. Five members are needed for a quorum. The group helps with the advancement and development of arts, including the issuance of grants.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014