Spirit of the Peace Powwow Committee members Connie Greyeyes and Leanna Rhodes present Fort St. John City Council with an original piece of artwork-Matthew Lago

Fort St. John City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, where community groups continued to seek funding in the City’s budget.

First up was the Fort St. John Public Library. The library currently receives $388,000 in funding from the City and would like to see that increase by $30,000, to $408,000 for next year. The main reason representatives from the libray are seeking the funding is because the North Peace Cultural Centre is raising the library’s rent. While a new lease has not yet been reached, they estimate that its rent will increase from $5.90 per square foot to approximately $10.

The Fort St. John Curling Club also attended the meeting. The City currently provides $10,000 in funding to provide for the Club’s waste collection and liability inurance. The Club wishes for that to continue, but would also like to secure a base budget grant from the city. The Club currently pays approximately $53,200 to Pacific Northern Gas and $27,900 for hydro, and would like the City to help out with these costs. This funding, they say, would help the Club better deal with unforseen expenses and provide for capital projects.

Next up was the Spirit of the Peace Powwow Committee. Representatives are seeking $5,000 in funding to help pay for honorariums and drummers for their event, which they hold in the summer. The purpose of the Powwow is to create an opportunity for network gathering events and allow for people to come together and learn about Aboriginal culture.

The North Peace Cultural Centre currently receives $250,000 in funding from the City and would like to see that rise to $300,000. The increase in funding would help meet the needs of maintaining the building, given the age of the facility, the high flow of traffic going through it and the increasing usage of the building by community groups.

The Tourism Fort St. John Board was next on the floor. It is seeking $46,000 in total funding for six different projects. It was asking for $10,000 to hold tourism stakeholder meetings twice per year. The Board was also asking for $5,000 to create packages that will appeal to the regional market and to increase blog content on HelloBC.com. It also says it would like to support activities related to the nomination of the Alaska Highway as a National Historic Site. The cost for this project is estimated at $20,000.

Next up was the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. It is seeking $2,000 to help pay for rental fees of a stage and sound system equipment for the yearly relay. The 12-hour event includes entertainment for participants and provides announcements throughout the day.

The last organization to make a presentation was the North Peace Branch of the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The SPCA would like the City to provide $15,000 so it can continue its spay and neuteur program that has greatly reduced the amount of stray animals in the region. It would also like the City to continue with their pound keeper contract with the SPCA.

Fort St. John City Council intends to decide on the budget requests by the end of the year.