Base Budget Grant meetings begin in Fort St. John

The Fort St. John Library Association has asked for the $380,000 it received in 2013 to be renewed, along with an additional $20,000 one time project grant of $20,000 for technology and furniture upgrades. 

“We’re really looking at making the library more usable to those who come in and who also access our digital resources” explains Library Director Kerry France. “This would mean installing comfortable library seating specially made for that, so that people will have a place to read, study, to meet, to use their own portable devices, of which there’s a steady increase right now.” 

She adds that the library is also short on electrical outlets, and plans to install more, as well as updating computer technology and furniture. Several areas of the library would also be redesigned. 

The library also receives $85,800 from the Peace River Regional District, which Councillor Trevor Bolin commented that he felt could be used better. 

The Fort St. John Community Arts Council is looking for a $3,000 increase to its funding from last year, to $20,000. In the past, $15,000 went towards its own grant process for its member groups, while the rest went to their administration. 

It claims its expenses continue to increase, and that its requests for grants last year exceeded the money it received, and more will be requesting this year. Last year the Arts Council received $16,550 in grant requests, and with the addition of the North Peace Gymnastics Association, the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and the Northern Winds Community Band, that’s expected to jump to $21,500. 

Determining exactly who benefits from the programs the Arts Council supports, and where they live, has always been  difficult, and a sticking point when it comes to who should be paying. 

“It does vary from group to group,” argues Director Margaret May, explaining that dance programs are likely formed more of Fort St. John residents, while looser groups may be more spread out in Areas B and C of the PRRD. 

For the most part, however, they all meet in the city, and it’s been suggested they undertake a survey to find out where those who benefit from the grants live. The Arts Council also receives a $7,800 Permissive Tax Exemption for its home at the Arts Post. 

Lastly, the North Peace SPCA has asked for a renewal of its $15,000 grant for its spay and neuter program. The organization uses the fund to spay and neuter animals that come into the shelter, as well as run an awareness campaign in local schools. Branch Manager Rosolynn Kalb says the program has been extremely successful, as evidenced by the low number of stray animals being brought in, even as the city grows. 

“We’re thrilled that even though our population is what it is now, we’re under 1,000 animals this past year – 965 to be exact,” she says. “We attribute that to the success of this spay and neuter program that the City of Fort St. John is helping us out with.” 

The NPSPCA has also piloted a new, low cost spay and neuter program to encourage lower income families, and so far nine have accessed funding assistance. It also receives a $20,000 from the Regional District, and a 10,000 Permissive Tax Exemption from the City, along with its pound keeping contracts with Fort St. John and Taylor. 

In total, seven local organizations have requested funding from the City for a total of $729,475, an increase of $23,000 over what was given last year. The Tourism FSJ Board, which is funded through the Operating Budget, has also requested an increase of $10,000 this year, which would bring its total to $46,000.

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About Erica Fisher 4010 Articles

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.