RDN Board passes motion to acquire First Nations art from area bands

Tue. Feb. 24/15

The Regional District of Nanaimo board has passed a motion to spend $30,000 to acquire art from each of the three First Nations within the RDN as a token of appreciation and recognition for each community.

Howard Houle, who represents Gabriola and the surrounding islands at the RDN, proposed the motion, which passed at the RDN committee of the whole Tuesday.

The motion still has to pass at the upcoming regular board meeting on Feb. 24, but Houle said he is confident it will once again receive support.

Houle said the idea was prompted by a recent joint appearance at the inaugural RDN board meeting in December from representatives from each of the Snuneymuxw, Nanoose and Qualicum First Nations.

"We had three First Nations come to the board meeting to welcome us and wish us the best, and that's the first time all three have (done that)," he said.

Houle said the art work will be displayed in public areas of the RDN administrative offices at Hammond Bay Road.

He said the original intention was to divvy up the $30,000 evenly three ways amongst each First Nation, but added another possibility may be to ask the three communities to work together on a common project for the regional government.

"We haven't discussed the details yet, we may ask for proposals," Houle said.

Houle said he does not have a specific idea of what type of art work the RDN is seeking.

"It's sort of wide open."

He said Wednesday the RDN has not been in contact with any of the First Nations on the idea yet.

However, if the motion receives final approval as expected, funding will be allocated for the project in the RDN's grants in aid budget for 2016.