Councils seek heritage fund support

Spallumcheen and Armstrong councils, along with the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Heritage Advisory Committee, want the provincial government to restore heritage funding.

A presentation from committee members Gail Salter and Dawn Jamieson spurred Spallumcheen council to craft a resolution calling for more heritage support to be forwarded to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) for consideration.

“Since the Municipal Act changed and responsibility for heritage fell to cities, the provincial heritage department went from 60 people to seven,” said Salter, who stated her committee would have received funding from the provincial heritage branch for a project had the branch had any money to give.

“They’re only open three months in the summer and they only have two people on staff, one is the executive director,” added Salter. “If the B.C. government is not going to help and give money for heritage, they’ll be out of business by the fall.

“The provincial heritage branch has been a great help to us.”

Spall council passed a five-point resolution for SILGA’s consideration to lobby the provincial government to provide further funding.

That includes:

n Investing a further $10 million in the Heritage Legacy Fund;

n Restoring community support for both local government and community heritage organizations;

n Adopting the draft provincial heritage strategy;

n Restoring the budget of the heritage branch, and;

n Resolving the heritage properties question.

Spall councillor Andrew Casson called for a friendly amendment that called for the elimination of the dollar amount in the first point.

“I love history and I love heritage, but asking the B.C. government for a certain amount of dollars is like having them reach into our pockets and the pockets of B.C. residents,” said Casson.

Mayor Will Hansma defended the dollar figure.

“The dollar amount shows what we think is the value of the Heritage Legacy Fund,” said Hansma.

Casson’s friendly amendment was defeated and the original motion for forwarding the resolution to SILGA was passed, though Casson was opposed.