South-end councillor calls for public arts policy to once again be put under microscope - 660 CITYNEWS
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South-end councillor calls for public arts policy to once again be put under microscope

Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating will soon re-open the debate surrounding the city’s public arts policy.

Keating plans to re-introduce a motion that would change the status quo before the end of the year.

It’s not his first attempt, after a similar motion of his was defeated in April of 2012.

In it, he had called for a more tiered approach where if the cost of an infrastructure project went up then the amount allocated to art would go down.

He’s also calling for the one per cent to be thrown out and for pieces to be capped at $1-million.

“And that will be the debate of where we go from there and see if that’s it, I’m thinking on anyone specific project, $1-million is a fair amount of money,” Keating says.

The push comes after council was forced to spend $8.6 million on art on the $1.4-billion West-LRT.

“When you get into math of projects like this, I think the 1 per cent is just way too much,” he tells 660News. “It’s just too rich, you can go down to the New Centre Library which will be $250-million; do we really need 2.5 million dollars of art sitting outside?”

The councillor, who was re-elected in October to a second term with a commanding majority, wants the decision to be put online.

If it’s approved, the art project can go ahead, if it’s turned down than the committee and artist would have to go back to the drawing board.

“I want to make sure there’s an option in there that says ‘none of these’ so taxpayers can say you know what, ‘this just isn’t where we want to spend our money,’ he says.

“We just want to make sure it’s viable and the people are enthused about it rather than asking where on Earth did this come from,” the Councillor adds.

Keating hasn’t been the only one; Mayor Naheed Nenshi publicly questioned the artistic value of “Travelling Light”, the large blue ring on 96th Avenue NE.

The Ward 12 politician says he hasn’t consulted with colleagues around the council table yet; he’ll wait until he’s drafted the new motion.