Benefits of amenities go beyond themselves

The new Library-Gallery project is not just about having a new library and art gallery

There are a lot of elements to building a healthy and vibrant community.

And it means different things to different people.

How money gets spent is a matter of prioritization for municipal governments, but it is also a balancing act.

Big projects, such as the new Smithers Library-Gallery, are always controversial.

Why, the argument goes, are we not spending that money on real, pressing needs such as water and sewer infrastructure, or health care, or housing.

There are both practical and philosophical answers to those questions.

Read last week’s editorial:

Happy New Year

On the practical side, the $12.8 million the Town is seeking for the new cultural centre is not available for other kinds of projects. The application was made under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure.

This program exists because of the philosophical position that amenities such as the proposed Library-Gallery are important to communities and build capacity for the future.

The estimated $15.8 million price tag of the centre is not something Smithers could entertain on its own. The project was important enough to Harvey and Corry Tremblay that they pledged to match up to a million dollars in community donations. It was important enough to a dedicated group of volunteers and all the businesses and individuals who have donated so far to raise more than $700,000. And it was important enough to both the current and previous town councils to create a borrowing bylaw to finance the Town’s $1 million share, providing it is ratified by referendum.

Read more editorials:

The upside of boring

Get to work on infrastructure

If the narrow view that only critical infrastructure needs should be addressed or should be prioritized to the exclusion of cultural and recreational amenities prevailed, we would have a pretty poor community. Good roads, water, sewer, hospital etc., are necessities, of course, but what allows us to have these things is population. And what attracts businesses and people to Smithers is not just critical infrastructure, but all the amenities the town has to offer.

If the Town had not supported the development and maintenance of the golf course, for example, there would be no Celebrity Golf Tournament that raised $125,000 last summer for charity. If we had not built the second sheet of ice, Smithers would not have been able to step up and host the Houston Figure Skating Club’s big event in November, when that town’s arena was out of service.

Those kinds of events also have all kinds of spin-off benefits. Whether we personally use specific amenities or services, we all benefit from having them.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and hereditary chiefs agree to future meeting

Scott Fraser was in Smithers on Jan. 22 and spoke with Office of the Wet’suwet’en representatives

Unist’ot’en Camp say RCMP have changed 27 kilometre roadblock rules

Footage shows RCMP telling an unidentified lawyer they can’t re-enter the checkpoint

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Telkwa bridge struck by empty logging truck

The truck hit the bridge on its east side and appears to have damaged a wooden beam

12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Royal Canadian Legion expels B.C. member for wearing unearned military commendations

‘Stolen valour is stolen service and it’s just totally wrong’

‘Latte-sipping urbanites’ need to realize value of mining in B.C., association head says

Industry generates a total of $3.9 billion in sales of goods and service across the province

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Most Read