‘We have to spread money’
Municipality reveals new sustainability fund application
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has changed the application community groups must fill out when looking for special events funding.
CBRM recreation manager Jennifer Collins and her staff held an information session Wednesday night to outline the new process, which she said should make it easier for groups to apply — and staff to assess.
“All that changed is the application form. We just made it a little more specific on yes-no questions that make it easier to evaluate,” she said. “And it’s more specific to festivals and events.”
The CBRM has had to alter the way it distributes money to community groups since Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. was decommissioned. The loss of the Crown funding entity left many groups scrambling for a share of the municipality’s limited resources.
Collins said the CBRM received $3.2 million in requests last year but only had $1.2 million to give out from its sustainability fund, which generally gets topped up each budget.
CBRM budget deliberations are currently underway, but Collins said the recreation department has requested $356,000 for the fund this year.
With more than 40 community groups typically asking for money and in-kind services, she said the applications reflect how important it is for groups to carefully budget for events and turn to all possible funding sources, including senior levels of government and businesses.
The applications — which are for requests under $1,000; $1,000-$50,000; and more than $50,000 — are evaluated by a sustainability committee made up of the CBRM chief financial officer, finance manager, community development officer and recreation manager. Requests of more than $50,000 need council approval.
Groups will also have to file a post-event report within 60 days, detailing the level of community participation and financial results of the event.
“We have to spread the money and we’re trying the most efficient way to evaluate everybody,” said Collins, who called special events and festivals “the unity in community.”
“We have some very proud communities that have their very special events, and they’re proud of what they do. It brings communities together.”