The Prince Rupert Special Events Society and the Arts Council are requesting that the City step up their aid in the search for new headquarters following a request that both groups vacate the premises.
The city’s partnership with Redesign Rupert, as well as their own projects such as the water treatment plan, will see an increase in city staff over the next several years.
Bev Kilberry, president of Special Events, and board member Joy Sundin, told council they are having trouble finding a space that meets their needs.
“We have been downstairs [at City Hall] for a long time. That is a long time of not paying rent,” Kilberry said.
The society said they are looking to stay in the downtown core because they are the public face of Prince Rupert, however a space is expected to add $16,000-$24,000 to their yearly expenses.
“Bottom line is it’s not something we have readily available,” Kilberry said regarding the additional costs.
Increase funding in Community Enhancement Grants
The Special Events Society will see an $8,000 increase in their yearly fund allocation from the city’s Community Enhancement Grant (CEG), which Mayor Lee Brain said he hopes will financially assist the society in their rent payments.
The Prince Rupert Community Arts Council also received an increase with an extra $9,000 added to their 2020 funding. However, the increase was due to the fact that they allocate their own grants to other community groups, not to offset the cost of their new move, explained chief financial officer Corinne Bomben.
New taxation and lease fees from new projects are expected to increase city revenue allowing for a five percent increase in CEG funds for 2020.
The Prince Rupert Golf Society’s funding allocation remained the same as 2019 with $220,000.
The Museum of Northern B.C. and the Lester Centre of the Arts saw an increase of more than $10,000 with $163,000 allocated to the former and $140,000 to the latter. The public library saw a $9,000 increase for a total grant of $679,000 for 2020.
No new applicants were approved to receive funding this year. However, following an amendement brought forward by councillor Barry Cunningham, the Prince Rupert Hospice Soceity managed to secure a one-time $5,000 grant to buy equipment that aids residents with their end of life care.
Golf society wants city to take on more active role, new greenskeeper hired
A new greenskeeper for the golf course will be making their way up to Prince Rupert in mid-December, to fill the position which has been vacant since August.
The former greenskeeper, Peter Drake, left his position a little more than a year after beginning to take up a position in Revelstoke in the Parks and Recreation Department.
The Prince Rupert golf course president, Iain Cullen, and Ross McNish, manager, presented council with the news during their year in review presentation at Monday night’s meeting.
Cullen highlighted many positives for the course this year such as the hiring of golf pro Tyler Stene, who quickly initiated many junior camp programs to engage the youth, five of whom went to provincials.
“That has been a substantial highlight of the year. We haven’t had this for 10 years,” Cullen said.
However, Cullen also reiterated that Stene is only one person and that the golf course is run by volunteers.
This year saw more than 1,000 additional rounds played and an influx of out-of-town golfers. Cullen’s goal is to increase membership by 10 per cent next year. Due to an increase in Port jobs, the golf course has seen a growth in membership for younger players aged 30-40, Cullen said.
Every golf hole is now sponsored by multiple companies or institutions and the society’s 20 carts are also being utilized for advertisement. Despite the extra revenue, staff retention due to lower wages, compared to other employment opportunities in the city, and a “dire need for equipment” remain the two biggest challenges facing the golf society.
“I consider [the Prince Rupert Golf Course Society] a joint venture with the city,” Cullen said. The golf society has been facing communication challenges with the city, following a request to use city equipment to repair damaged property that has become a liability issue.
“Maybe the city can take more of an active role in the golf course,” he concluded.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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