Six community groups made presentations to Nelson city council on Jan. 20 asking for their annual grant from the city.
The city gives annual funding to organizations that either occupy city-owned buildings or are committees of council. Combined, the funding to these groups is only about three per cent of the city’s total operational budget of $16 million, according to chief financial officer Colin McClure.
In past years the Nelson and Area Sports Council belonged to this group, but it is currently inactive.
Council did not make decisions on these requests, but will consider them as part of their current budget-making process for 2017.
The Nelson and District Arts Council (NADC) requested $2,500 this year, the same amount as last year. The city contributed about 3.6 per cent of of the group’s funding last year.
NADC runs Artwalk and administers artist grants provided by the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. In 2016, under new executive director Sydney Black, the NCAD put on a dance educator showcase and a forum on arts and poverty.
Touchstones Nelson requested $227,460, a two per cent increase over last year’s grant of $223,000. The city’s grant provided 42 per cent of Touchstones’ funding in 2016 and new executive director Astrid Heyerdahl told council that the city’s portion goes to annual increases to fixed expenses such as building maintenance contracts, utilities, scheduled updates to fire and sprinkler systems, security, and staff wages (one per cent cost of living increase).
The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre requested $78,280, after having received $76,000 each year for the past 10 years, or just under two-thirds of the visitor centre’s income. Executive director Tom Thomson reported that the centre ran a loss of $17,600 in 2016, that the chamber has been subsidizing the centre for several years, and the request for an increase from the city is an attempt to partially correct that situation.
The Cultural Development Committee, which is a committee of council and therefore funded entirely by the city, received $40,000 last year and requested $40,900 this year, a 2.25 per cent increase. The committee’s Heritage Working Group requested $5,000.
The committee listed among its accomplishments the downtown rotating sculpture gallery, the naming of the new cultural ambassador, the annual heritage award, monthly short arts performances at city council meetings, administering annual grants from the Columbia Basin Trust, and working with the city on cultural aspects of various planning projects.
The Capitol Theatre requested $68,850, a two per cent increase from its grant last year to offset increases in utilities and building maintenance costs. This amounts to about 14 per cent of the Capitol’s total revenue last year of $479,043.
The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership requested $100,000, the amount it has received for the past seven years.
The partnership is comprised of Community Futures, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, the Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas , and the City of Nelson. It is funded entirely by the latter two, with the city’s contribution amounting to about 63 per cent of the total.
The organization lists its 2017-18 priorities as a continuation of its business retention and expansion program, progress toward becoming an Intelligent Community through promotion of technology adoption, the development of an innovation centre, and the attraction of technology and knowledge workers.