Saanich is committed to the Arts. We have always provided financial support to regional and local arts facilities and organizations.
Recently, Saanich opened the first dedicated community arts facility in the region. The Arts Center at Cedar Hill will house gallery and studio space, a major ceramics studio, and a dance space. This is part of our commitment to infrastructure enhancement and replacement. Replacement of aging infrastructure is given priority and spending is being gradually increased to reach sustainable levels, rising from $7 million in 2001 to an annual average of over $25 million in the last three years.
I recognize that support for infrastructure and arts is only possible through a healthy economy. That means we have to continue to plan with the understanding that the money we are spending is your money. Global economic uncertainty has been a factor of life since the last municipal election, and I am proud of our record of fiscal prudence.
To put it bluntly, I believe governments must always respect your ability to pay. That means asking hard questions, even about popular services. It is why we are restraining spending in all areas - other than public safety - during this economic slowdown. It is why I have been challenging spending by BC Transit – and urging more local input so spending reflects the needs and wants of our community.