What’s in a name? That is the question facing Saanich staff after council asked it to review plans to rename the Cedar Hill Community Recreation Centre.
Council issued the directive after the district’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee recommended that Saanich change the sign on the building’s south side from Cedar Hill Recreation Centre to “Saanich Arts and Recreation Centre” to help promote the various arts programs that the district runs out of the facility.
Coun. Vickie Sanders, who chairs the committee that had brought forward the recommendation, said the original discussions focused on adding the term “Arts” to the sign, so it would read Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre.
“In the enthusiasm of the committee and being so proud of fact that Saanich has the only arts centre…they felt it was bigger than Cedar Hill,” she said. “They didn’t mean to be disparaging Cedar Hill, they just thought it was bigger. So they suggested the Saanich Arts and Recreation Centre.”
Sanders said the committee’s recommendation differed from her recommendation and what the committee had been discussing for the past year.
It certainly drew the attention of the local community association.
Art Beck, vice-president of the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association, told council that his association generally supports efforts to promote the visibility of the local arts community and programming, adding that it supports the inclusion of the phrase ‘Arts’ in the name of the facility.
But the committee’s recommendation represented a “major mission-scope creep,” Beck said.
He also accused the committee of failing to consult with the public, and wondered whether it had considered all of the financial ramifications that would arise from any name change.
A name change would require new outdoor signs, new letterheads and other changes in official documents, he said.
“This is a major expense,” he said.
He also questioned the timing of the proposed move in light of an upcoming planning process for the area.
“What is the rush?” he asked.
These arguments eventually convinced council to send the issue back for additional review and several councillors said they would be supportive of a name that would reference the arts.
Coun. Colin Plant called the name change proposed by the committee a “good idea that was bogged by the fact that the name Cedar Hill was taken out, and I do not support the name being changed to Saanich Arts and Recreation Centre.”
This said, Plant added that he would be open to a name change for that location.
Others agreed and asked staff to examine current signage for all community centres.
Coun Leif Wergeland, however, cautioned against taking this process too far.
“We have a way of communicating with the public where these programs take place,” he said. “There are other ways of building awareness than changing the names on buildings.”