The 2018 budget includes 19 thousand dollars for improvements to the 3rd floor entry, foyer, stairway and stairwells.
It also includes an overhaul of Council Chambers, including taking some of the pictures of previous Councils off the wall and moving them elsewhere.
That didn’t sit well with Councillor Ron Paull…
“I believe these photographs do belong in city hall, perhaps not in council chambers but perhaps in a more public area. These pictures are important to our heritage and to simply put them in the basement of the museum or do whatever is not good, so i will be voting against any recommendation that involves the removal of these pictures from city hall.”
Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg felt the same way…
‘This isn’t a sword that i’m willing to dye on but i have had people talk to me about concerns where these pictures are going. They want to make sure that we are respectful of our heritage as a Council and a city or town. I get whole point of rebranding and how we want to refresh and be part of what our brand looks like, but there is concern out there that we’re just kind of switching this, forgetting our history and you know, out of sight out of mind.”
For his part, Mayor Bob Simpson felt that the community should be represented in Council Chambers and not the politicians.
He also questioned whether the pictures of some of the previous Councils were history, noting that there wasn’t a story attached to them…
“You know, which one of these saddled us with the debt of this building ? Which one of these didn’t respond to mountain pine beetle ? Which one of these didn’t do things as well as which did ? That’s history and if you want to honour them then put some money into getting an archivists to come up and put a history to each one of those Council period and say this is what happened over that period of time, pro and con, and respect it properly, not a bunch of pictures.”
Councillor Shushil Thapar was not opposed to the pictures moving but he did feel that the money for the paint could be better spent elsewhere.
The counter argument there was that City Hall should be painted to match the community’s new branding and that the downstairs foyer was the face of Council to the community, investors and developers.
Mayor Simpson noted that it was also an opportunity to communicate with the public what it is they are in there and engaging in.
He says beyond the paint, is the theme in there in that downstairs area of a contribution to your community, so when people are coming in and paying taxes, there will be pictures throughout there on brand, and showing people snow plowing and police and fire and road maintenance and so on, so that they actually get a message of what that cheque is that they’re putting down is contributing in their community.
The vote was 4-3 in favour.