Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Increase to recreation grant funding approved by council

For the Lakeland Regional.

Recreational groups and non-profits can apply for more money through the City of Cold Lake's Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee. Council opted to boost the amount of funds available to $15,000.
File photo
Non-profits and athletes in need may be getting a slight boost thanks to a modest increase in funding made available by council.

Cold Lake City Council approved new funding levels for its recreation and culture advisory committee at its general meeting on July 12, allowing the committee a greater amount of freedom to offer financial aid to athletes, teams and artistic organizations.

The extra cash is hoped to lessen the amount of delegations appearing before council for funding, although council was quick to point out that anyone who feels the need to speak to council is free to do so.

“Anything above these (funding) thresholds has to come to council,” noted Chief Administration Officer Kevin Nagoya. “When this committee was created, the spirit of it was that there's always something unique about a cultural project.”

The committee provides five distinct grants to groups in need – a travel grant, a leadership grant, a development grant, a special event grant and an equipment grant.

The new policy increases the amount of funding available for travel from $250 to $500 for individuals and from $500 to $1,000 for groups. The leadership grant has been changed to a 50/50 cost sharing program, with the city matching up to $750 for an individual or up to $2,000 for a group.
The development grant has been boosted to $2,000 from $500. The special event grant was doubled from $500 to $1,000 and the equipment grant was expanded to be available every year, as opposed to the previous allowance of every second year.

The overall pool of money available for these five grants was subsequently increased from $10,000 to $15,000.

Coun. Bob Buckle expressed concern about groups applying for both a grant and then appearing before city council for funding.

“I think it would make sense to have one or the other,” commented Buckle. “The rec committee shouldn't be wasting their time if the applicant is going to appear before council anyway.”

However, Coun. Duane Lay noted that there was a proper procedure for groups seeking funding, and that they should go through the committee first before appearing before council.

“In the spirit of (clarity), the easiest way to do it is to send them to the rec board, then they can come to council if they need more,” suggested Lay.

Coun. Chris Vining added that the new funding should draw more applications away from council and towards the committee.

“By increasing the amount available in the grant, it gives council the ability to say ‘no, you have enough from the grant,'” pointed out Vining. “It will be interesting to see how the new amounts play out and to see if the rec grant gets more traction.”

The new funding has been made available immediately.

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