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Provincial government cuts Community Spirit Grant

“While there was never a number attached to what you could receive, it was an incentive for people to donate,” said Garrah. “I think the fact that the province was offering supplemental donation did result in people openly donating. That incentive is now gone.”

Garrah mentioned that Habitat for the Arts receives funding from federal dollars for events and program development and is pleased the Cultural Days Fund was not affected by the 2013 budget.

“The premier has just finished seeking people for her ‘Premiers Council for the Arts,’” Garrah noted. “That gives us confidence.”

Garrah notes that the funds Habitat for the Arts receives are used to create opportunities for all ages to explore all kinds of arts mediums, “music to lego, pottery to theatre.”

According to Paul Schmidt, Jasper Victim Services coordinator, while the loss of the Community Spirit Grant is unfortunate, the Victims of Crime Act ensures that victim services is a right of all victims and therefore government funding will continue, however community donations will no longer be matched.

“The Community Spirit Grant has been great for us,” said Schmidt. “People recognize that when they make a donation to Jasper Victim Services, we are able to apply to have those funds matched.”

Schmidt said victim services has more secure funding than other provinces through the Victims of Crime Fund.

The museum was hit much harder by the cut. According to Karen Byers, museum manager, the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives received about $8,000 from the Community Spirit Grant, which is “a fair chunk” of their budget.

“We counted on it for the day to day expenses,” said Byers. 

Byers noted that the application process, which they started last fall, was quite time consuming.

“So that was a complete waste of time,” Byers noted.

Other community organizations that benefitted from the Community Spirit Grant include the Friends of Jasper National Park, the HIV West Yellowhead Society and the Jasper Gymnastics Club.

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