George Nielsen

Name

George Nielsen

Jurisdiction

Duncan

Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)

n/a

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?

Not exactly as it is not broken down in the City's financials. An increase would depend upon whether the budget has room for it. The City of Duncan is facing a large amount of expenses over the next few years regarding infrastructure costs and it will be a struggle to pay for those without a large increase to property taxes in my opinion.

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?

I do not have much of a background in arts, culture, and heritage so, probably not. I have more of a business background and believe it concentrating on where my strengths lie. I do believe that it is important that council has a balance of skills and strengths so would hope that another person will be elected with a background in these areas and he/she could be the champion for it.

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?

Education is more of a Provincial matter than a municipal matter. However, I do believe that arts should be an important component of any education. I think we could encourage it through sponsoring some art shows, prizes and through hanging local childrens' art in public venues.

Cultural Growth

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

I believe that local government should invest/donate to local programs rather than provincial or national programs to support the development of culture within our own community.

Cultural Spaces

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

The City of Duncan partly funds the local community center even though it is technically in the municipality of North Cowichan. I believe this is right since the citizens of Duncan use the facility. I would encourage public displays of art and culture on City property for zero cost.

Cultural Tourism

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

Duncan is already well known for its Native culture and for being the City of Totems. The City should continue to work with tourism groups, the Chamber of Commerce, and others as well as its own website to promote this.

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

Affordable housing is an issue that needs to be worked on in Duncan. We need to work on increasing density as well as working with homeowners that want to create suites within their homes.

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?

The biggest issues in our community are homelessness and drug use. An influx of homeless people and drug addicts over the last few years has damaged the reputation of the city. This affects all aspects of the community including arts, culture, and heritage. We need to take concrete action in addressing these problems so that people will not be afraid to come to Duncan to support arts and culture and heritage. People need to feel safe to go out at night to attend events.

Participation

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

I attend plays, go to concerts, attend events.

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, unfortunately, am not an artist. In fact, I almost failed art classes in school. However, my father was a painter and I have a good appreciation of art. Many of his painting hang in my house. Because Duncan is basically surrounding by Native lands and is on traditional Native land, I believe their culture is a vital part of the community as a whole and we need to be aware of it, support them, and recognize it as part of the Valley's heritage. I believe arts, culture, and heritage are an important part of the fabric that makes up any community.