Columbia Shuswap Regional District building. (File photo)

Shuswap non profits look to future after alternative approval process for funding is denied

Voters halted a bylaw which would have provided stable funding to two community groups.

A pair of Shuswap non-profits are pondering their funding future after a alternative approval process was denied by Columbia Shuswap Region District voters.

The alternative approval process which was put to voters in CSRD electoral Area C and the most populated part Area F over the summer. Had the AAP succeeded, it would have allowed the regional district to tax area residents to fund a pair of non profits rather than funding them through grant in aids as they had in the past. The groups which would have benefited from the funding are the Arts Council for the South Shuswap and the North and South Shuswap Community Resource Association (NSSCR).

A total of 1,412 response forms from those opposed to the plan were received. A minimum of 885 responses were required to halt the adoption of the bylaw.

“When the vote came own obviously it was disheartening” said Arts Council for the South Shuswap Executive Director Karen Brown.

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Brown said the two groups presented to the CSRD on stable funding in the Fall of 2018. She added the arts council receives about $35,000 in grant funding from the CSRD each year of a total budget of about $180,000. Brown said the CSRD funding is especially important because many funding sources from higher levels of government require the applicant to show funding from their local government.

The arts council puts on arts and culture programs including the Music in the Bay summer concert series the Fine Arts Community Explorations (FACES) program. Brown says FACES helps to introduce local residents to a variety of arts and culture activities while also providing employment for the instructors who teach the classes.

“I do think it’s an essential service,”she said of the arts and culture programs which the arts council offers.

“It’s about healthy living.”

Lee Robinson of the NSSCR said stable funding would have allowed them to expand their programming, which is at the capacity but serving a community which continues to grow.

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“As with many not for profits we are sufficiently funding the direct delivery of our programs but struggling to manage the administration on the limited admin budget we’re working with,” Robinson said.

“The funding from the CSRD was meant to help support our admin so we can potentially adequately cover the hours required to expand programming and effectively and diligently administer the organization.”

Robinson said the funding would have helped the NSSCR coordinate, manage and organize programs for children and families. The largest gap is programming for children and Robinson said the NSSCR will be shelving three children’s programs and won’t be in a position to add more until a funding source is found.

It will be up to the CSRD board to decide whether to send the bylaw which did not pass the alternative approval processs to a full referendum.

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