City hears rest of Base Budget Grant requests

The North Peace Cultural Society has asked for a continuance of the $250,000 it has steadily received for the past few years. 2012/2013 was a year of many successes for the North Peace Cultural Centre, including eight sold out shows, a higher volume of room bookings, and new patrons. It has goals for next year that include creating a concert society and making the Cultural Crawl an annual event due to its success. The society also receives an $118,000 tax exemption, as well as $76,000 in rent from the North Peace Library. 

The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society is again looking for funding for its bus pass program, which has given free bus passes to low-income mothers and their children for two years now. Executive Director Sherri Williams says the Women’s Resource Centre’s clientele has increased, and the bus passes are a vital part of their programs. 

“We’ve got so many great stories of mom who’ve kept their jobs, went to school, and it’s totally turned them and their kids’ lives around,” she told City Council. “With these bus passes that you guys give us, it makes their lives so much easier, especially in the winter months.” 

The $7,475 asked for is the same amount that was given last year, in addition to its $4,700 permissive tax exemption. 

The Tourism Fort St. John Board has asked for an increase of $10,000 this year, to go towards further implementation of its Tourism Plan, as well as the Alaska Highway Tourism Initiative. The board is compiling stories from pioneers that constructed the highway, and is creating displays to highlight the history. It asked for the increase to $46,000 from $36,000 for 2013 as well, but was denied the additional amount. 

The North Peace Historical Society has also asked for an increase this year, to $12,000 from $10,000. Heather Longworth, the North Peace Museum’s Manager and Curator, says the extra funding would go towards education programming and hiring a second part-time staff member. 

“In addition to helping us with collections and exhibits, part of this grant would facilitate the hiring of a second staff person part-time to develop educational programs,” she explains, “such as curriculum-based programming for schools, educational kits for seniors homes and talk special events and programs for all ages.” 

The Historical Society also receives a $55,000 permissive tax exemption for the museum. 

Lastly, the North Peace Justice Society has asked for $25,000, which it received last year as well, to maintain the Restorative Justice Program in the area. Co-ordinator Michelle LaBoucane argues that the program saves the city money in RCMP man power and gives back thousands of hours of community service. 

“74 per cent of our offenders come from Fort St. John, 92 per cent of the offences happen in FortSt. John, and 98 per cent of our files are referred to us by the RCMP,” she explains. “Every file from the RCMP saves over four hours in paperwork and court time for our members. That means our officers can be back in service and helping the community.”

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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.