Millions in Funding
Council approves $30.5 million funding for community groups, with RRC getting more than half.
Council approved more than $30.5 million in funding for 20 community organizations during the first day of their four-day budget workshops for 2019 on Wednesday, with more than half of that amount going to the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo.
The organization requested more than $16 million, representing 41 per cent of their 2019 projected expenses. This is an increase from the $14.6 million they received in 2018.
Mayor Don Scott proposed a motion that the funding be granted on the condition there would be no off-site catering, with the exception of the food truck.
Scott said he wanted to make sure the RRC would not be “competing with the businesses downtown that are struggling already.”
The motion passed unanimously, with Councillors Krista Balsom and Mike Allen excusing themselves from the discussion and vote due to a conflict of interest.
The $30.5 million is approximately $1.5 million more than what was originally expected, due to some organizations getting more than they wanted and two organizations making last-minute bids after a draft of the funding applicants was made. All applicants were passed unanimously.
The Northern Lights Health Foundation and the Fort Mcmurray Royal Canadian Legion were not included as applicants for the Community Investment Program, but presented to council Wednesday morning.
The Northern Lights Health Foundation asked council for $400,000 to support minimally invasive surgical suites.
Cindy Amer on gen, executive director for the organization, said the suites would make room for an extra 500 surgeries annually, allowing patients to stay close to home instead of going to Edmonton.
A motion to include this request under the Community Investment Program was made by Councillor Verna Murphy and passed unanimously.
Pat Duggan, president of the Fort Mcmurray Legion, asked council for $367,000 to resurface and pave the parking area. This would let the Waterways branch expand its parking, improve accessibility and hold more outdoor events.
A motion to include this request under the Community Investment Program was brought forward by Councillor Jeff Peddle motioned the request by included under the program, with the condition three local quotes for the work be provided. The motion passed unanimously.
A request from the Local HERO Foundation for $1 million was made, but Murphy asked that the foundation get an extra $500,000. The motion passed, with Balsom excusing herself from the discussion and vote.
“This is not a want, this is an essential service,” said Councillor Phil Meagher.
Councillor Sheila Lalonde brought motioned that funding for the Vista Ridge Recreational Association increase from $195,000 to $567,000.
Originally, administration was aware of one portion of the funding request, but through the presentation, Vista Ridge manager Kevin Grogan indicated the organization had three asks, totalling $567,000.
Council passed the motion unanimously.
Council will continue workshops tomorrow at 9 a.m. when they will start discussions on the proposed 2019 operating budget.
Approved funding for the Community Investment Program:
Arts Council Wood Buffalo: $350,000 (Councillor Krista Balsom excused herself )
Fort Chipewyan Historical Society: $141,000
Fort Mcmurray Heritage Society: $380,000 (Balsom excused herself )
Fort Mcmurray Minor Baseball Association: $90,000
Fort Mcmurray Minor Hockey Association: $460,000
Fort Mcmurray Tourism: $629,800 (Balsom excused herself )
Justin Slade Youth Foundation $310,000
Keyano Foundation: $449,500 (Councillors Balsom and Jeff Peddle excused themselves)
Local HERO Foundation: $1,500,000 (Balsom excused herself )
Mcmurray Sno-drifters Associations: $99,500
Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo: $296,000 (Balsom excused herself )
Northern Alberta Athletic Association: $1,100,000 (Balsom excused herself )
Northern Lights Health Foundation: $400,000
Ptarmigan Nordic Ski Club: $30,000 (Councillor Phil Meagher excused himself )
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Library Board: $4,210,500 (Balsom excused herself )
Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo: $16,271,000 (Councillors Balsom and Mike Allen excused themselves)
Royal Canadian Legion: $367,000
Vista Ridge Recreational Association: $567,000
Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation: $2,200,000 – funded by reserve (Balsom excused herself )
YMCA of Northern Alberta, Wood Buffalo Region: $729,500 (Balsom excused herself )
The Suncor Community Leisure Centre on June 19, 2013. More than $16 million in community grant funding is going to the RRC.