Rick McGowan

Name

Rick McGowan

Jurisdiction

Burnaby

Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)

Green Party

Funding

Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?

Yes.

Advocacy

If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?

Yes. Exposure to art and cultural events is good for social and intellectual development. Arts and culture can be a sustainable economic driver in a community. It is important to inspire people, and careers in the arts can be rewarding

Education

Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?

I would like to see more money allocated to the development of a new art gallery in Burnaby. We need one that is close to Skytrain makng it more accessible to students and the larger community. Greens also will redirect a larger share of gaming grants the City receives to community groups. and schools for the promotion of arts and culture.

Cultural Growth

How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?

As previously mentioned, the City currently receives $8-10 million in gaming grants annually, which is historically kept in reserve to fund council and staff junkets to Asia and elsewhere. Recently, it was reported that $1.2 million of this money was used to pay for Burnaby's failed court challenges. We believe this is an inappropriate use of this grant. Additionally, we will reprioritize expenditure on some amenities the current council has prioritized.

Cultural Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?

Yes. We are considering a reduction in user fees for city owned venues. We will look at best practice from other jurisdictions in alotting space for the arts. There is also the possibility of using zoning powers to incentivize the creation of cultural spaces.

Cultural Tourism

How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?

We will promote cultural tourism through support to Tourism Burnaby. Grant money has also been traditionally available to groups. That will continue.

How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

Housing affordability has been a problem across Metro Vancouver. Greens are committed to regular investment in affordable homes. Greens will also place emphasis on procuring the services of local artists, including indigenous artists for public installations. We are also open to hearing innovative ideas on attracting artists from the artistic community itself.

Key Issues

What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?

Burnaby relies on a centralized planning model which can stifle neighbourhood creativity and innovation. Throughout the City there are innumerable opportunities to incorporate art in public spaces. We will encourage authentic neighbourhood engagement as we work to make neighbourhoods sustainable and welcoming.

Participation

How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

My family frequently attend arts and cultural events in Burnaby and around Metro Vancouver. I have not been involved on committees largely because I feel these committees are overly partisan, and do not reflect the diversity of ideas that exists in the community. Appointments to committees are at the discretion of the Mayor's office. We want to see the Mayor's role in the selection of committee members limited.

Additional Information

If you'd like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture, and heritage issues in your community, please use the space below.

I believe Burnaby has been missing out on developing as a cultural hub in the region.