NDP looks at creating cultural fund

Arts critic in Kamloops to talk with city officials

Michele Young / Kamloops Daily News
March 25, 2013 01:00 AM

Spencer Chandra Herbert speaks outside the Kamloops Art Gallery Monday afternoon.

The NDP's arts critic says his party's election platform will include incentives for the B.C. film industry and possibly a cultural infrastructure fund.

But Spencer Chandra Herbert couldn't give details of either program yet, saying the math is still being calculated and he doesn't want to spoil official announcements.

He was in Kamloops Monday to meet with Mayor Peter Milobar and representatives from the Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops Symphony, TNRD Film Commission and Tourism Kamloops.

He heard about the proposed performing arts centre and said it would be a possible contender for a capital program for the arts - if there were such a thing.

But right now, arts groups have to scramble to find funding for their facilities.

"You have to scratch somebody's back," Chandra Herbert said.

Not surprising, the groups he spoke to in Kamloops were enthusiastic about the idea of a cultural infrastructure fund that would help pay some of the cost of arts buildings.

Chandra Herbert said he has an understanding of the needs of the arts community in Kamloops, as his parents met here while they were both working at the Sagebrush Theatre.

The B.C. film industry has been hit with job losses due to tax credit initiatives in Ontario and Quebec, and the NDP is looking at ways to turn that around, he said.

While he couldn't give details, he did say the strategy involves job training and tax credits.

"We need to remain competitive on tax credits," he said.

"We're looking at all options."

While the Kamloops film business is based more on on-site shoots than major film studios, local training programs could be worth exploring, Chandra Herbert said.