People shouted in protest and cheered in joy as the Sir John A. Macdonald statue was removed from Victoria’s City Hall on Aug. 11, 2018 (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

City of Victoria considers donating Sir John A. Macdonald statue to province

In a budget meeting Mayor and Council discussed options for the controversial statue

The City of Victoria is floating the idea of donating the Sir John A. Macdonald statue to the province, rather than choosing a municipal location.

In a special committee of the whole meeting, mayor and council were deciding how much money to designate to moving the statue from its current undisclosed storage location when Coun. Ben Isitt brought up a new proposition.

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather at Victoria City Hall after removal of Sir John A. Macdonald Statue

“Could we donate the statue to another entity, for example the province of B.C., if we didn’t want this to be the centrepiece of the city’s reconciliation work and we wanted to allow the province’s curatorial and heritage function to do that public engagement?” Isitt said.

Coun. Marianne Alto said she was unaware of any conditions which the city made upon accepting the statue’s donation in 1981.

READ MORE: Sculptor of John A. Macdonald statue speaks out

Council further discussed potential costs for the removal, initially earmarking up to $10,000 towards the procedure and motioning to direct staff to look into any potential prohibitions about donating the statue.

“This is an item of high public interest, and we need to have a very public process, regardless of if we donate it or not,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, “But we are still going to need to pay something to get it out of storage.”

ALSO READ: Lisa Helps apologizes– More consultation needed in statue removal

Coun. Geoff Young was against the motion, citing the public outcry after the statue’s removal in August 2018.

“I read scores and scores of letters saying that the city council had gone and made a decision without public input,” Young said. “So we start off talking about how we’re gonna get public input and before the sound has echoed from the chamber, Coun. Isitt and Mayor Helps are already determining that they’re preference is to give it to the province and we’re costing it on that basis.”

Young suggested increasing the cost of the statue removal to match what it took to remove it, which was roughly $30,000, including policing costs.

READ MORE: New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Isitt and Helps were against this increase.

“I think this is throwing good money at bad money,” Isitt said. “It was probably a mistake for the city to accept the statue in the first place. It was assuming a provincial and federal responsibility in terms of telling the very complicated story of Canada and British Columbia, that’s not a municipal responsibility. So I think we should we be looking to exit ourself from this situation with the least impact to tax payers.”

Ultimately council voted on a $10,000 cap to move the statue, and directed staff to research if donation was even a viable option before it was presented to the public for discussion.

Provincial Minister of Education Rob Fleming heard of council’s discussion while at Legislature on Wednesday, and said the province would be open to discussing the issue.

“We’ll certainly take a look,” Fleming said. “I know the mayor and members of council, and we’ll have a conversation and take it from there and wait for them to deliberate.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Bachrach nominated by NDP for federal election

The Smithers mayor won on the first ballot with 446 of 797 votes

Bridgeview Marine builds fishing fleet for Queen Charlotte Lodge

Since October, the Prince Rupert-based company has been working on nine vessels for the lodge

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Service honours Marlene Swift’s life and work with North Coast Victims Services

RCMP, Prince Rupert residents attend a ceremony for Swift from inside the Salvation Army on May 23

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read