The CRD may make funding changes to the Royal Theatre Service. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

City of Victoria votes to consider funding changes at Royal Theatre

A meeting between the Capital Regional District, Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay will determine further steps

The City of Victoria is asking for the Capital Regional District to take the first steps in discussing funding changes for the cost of the Royal Theatre and McPherson Theatre Services.

At city council, staff outlined the current situation in which Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay are responsible for the Royal Theatre Service, while Victoria alone is responsible for the McPherson Theatre Service.

Funding for both of these services is raised by the CRD requisition and is based on a proportionate share taxes based off of 50 per cent population, and 50 per cent assessment.

ALSO READ: Royal and McPherson Society pleads its case to Victoria council

A bylaw amendment approved by the District of Oak Bay is seeking to shift that proportion to be 100 per cent based on assessment for the Royal Theatre Service, a move the District of Saanich opposed, leaving Victoria as the deciding vote.

“We are now in the middle because it’s a two-thirds majority. We don’t want to take sides, we want to meet both groups,” explained Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Coun. Geoff Young was opposed to opening discussions.

“Frankly I’m not in favour, I have no interest in having our staff to work to create an agreement that would have us pay more,” Young said.

ALSO READ: Royal Theatre rate hikes on hold for now; user groups remain unhappy

Opening up discussions could, however, also offer the same opportunity for the McPherson Theatre, and create room to allocate costs with other municipalities should any decision to take on shared responsibility be made.

As is, since the City of Victoria is the only municipality involved in the McPherson Theatre Service, the decision to amend any bylaws around the service would only require one vote.

Discussions could also involve lifting the cap of $580,000, which could see tax revenue increase over time.

“It can’t hurt to have staff meet with staff,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday.

Council approved the motion, with the only objecting vote coming from Young.

Any potential bylaw changes put forward would happen in 2020.


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