If the City of the Arts is going to get a second arts centre, it likely won't come cheap.
Port Moody city council narrowly approved a grant application to the federal government for up to $480,000 to develop an arts centre at the Centennial/Appleyard House.
But based on the Heritage Legacy fund requirements, the city would then be obligated to match the amount of the grant, which could bring the cost of the whole project to $960,000.
It was those numbers that rankled some members of city council.
"I don't disagree with the concept of having an arts centre. I really do have a problem with committing that much taxpayer money without a public consultation process," said Coun. Diana Dilworth, who along with Mayor Mike Clay and Coun. Rosemary Small, voted against approving the grant application.
She also argued the commitment to the arts centre indicates the project is more important than a library or soccer field.
Dilworth also took issue with operating costs outlined in a staff report regarding the grant application.
According to the report, the city's agreement for the grant application must be for a 10year operating contract with the Arts Centre Society, which is taking the lead on the grant application.
That agreement would cost the city $83,000 per year starting in 2014, for a total of $839,000 for the life of the commitment.
The total includes $65,000 for front desk service, $12,000 for building maintenance and $6,000 for garden maintenance.
Dilworth suggested the city hasn't considered alternatives for the house that could provide a revenue stream.
However, Coun. Gerry Nuttall countered it was unlikely the city would get all of the money being asked for in the grant - if the grant is approved at all - and the amount spent will be scaled to what is received in the grant.
He added he wouldn't support spending close to $1 million on the project.
Nuttall also argued the operating budget outlined in the report is misleading, suggesting the $65,000 to staff the centre is something the society would like, but there are alternatives like reassigning staff around both sites.
He said he would not support the additional $65,000, and views the actual maintenance of the building to be about $19,000.
"This is the time right now when we have the opportunity to get a portion of the funding for [the centre] paid for," Nuttall said.
Coun. Rick Glumac suggested the grant is more than just funding for an arts centre, but an opportunity to preserve a heritage home and strengthen Port Moody's image as a city of the arts.
But Clay had his own take on the entire process surrounding the Appleyard House.
"This house has gone through anything but a normal process in the city and I think it's led to a whole ton of problems," he said.
Clay also contends there are other options for the house, and he hopes they will be looked at before any money is committed.
The grant itself must be filed by Sept. 30, while a response to the application is expected by spring 2013.
So far, the city has approved $330,000 from the heritage fund for the project, including $157,000 to move the house to its current location at 126 Kyle St.
In May, the provincial government agreed to give the heritage house back to the City of Port Moody, which in turn agreed to move the house to make way for the construction of the Evergreen Line.