LETTER: Colwood gallery’s closure draws sympathy

Thank you for the story about the community gallery closure in Colwood. I am a Canadian artist myself and wanted to comment about that closure. (Too bad there wasn’t somebody out there who could rescue this gallery, but the problem of course runs much deeper.)

It is very sad to see the Coast Collective Art Centre close its doors. It would have taken a huge amount of energy and thought to build what this gallery has achieved over the years, and so the idea of having to go through all that again is heartbreaking.

The story drives home the point that governments have to do more than simply offer free loans for small businesses during this crisis. Governments fail to realize that small businesses are often only a labour of love, with not much margin for money left over after paying the wages of employees, the rent, the electricity, taxes, etc.

A loan, even when free, doesn’t make the numbers work any better, because the money just isn’t there, and for any small business it would be like working for free for the rest of your life. Every small business in Canada is facing the same difficult decision, and it does not bode well for our economy and our future.

Governments need to understand that you can’t keep taxing ordinary people and squeezing them for more because when something like COVID-19 comes along, as something like it will, there is not enough slack left in the system to cope. You end up with catastrophic failure.

The gallery in this article was run by a collective of people. Even with the resources of a large group of people, this small business could not survive. How does a small, family-run business ever survive?

All levels of governments need to live within their means. They need to have enough money in their coffers to support the system when cracks start to appear. The reality is that governments have spent our tax dollars foolishly. The homeless issue is a good example. There is no national strategy to house people or deal with addictions and mental illness. Instead, all levels of government spend billions of dollars playing whack a mole with people’s lives and having nothing to show for it year after year after year.

Deryk Houston


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