The Cathedral Area Community Association’s grant from the City of Regina will be cut by at least 36 per cent over the next two years, following a new funding policy set by the City’s Parks and Community Services Committee at their Dec. 13 meeting. Al Ritchie and Argyle Park will also see their grants reduced, as the city moves to spread funding previously earmarked for the inner city to outlying neighbourhoods.
While the policy change was not unexpected, the CACA board is nonetheless deeply disappointed the City has chosen to reduce funding to inner-city communities during a time when our political leaders claim Regina is “on a roll”.
While red carpets unroll for rich old rockers, neighbourhood activities like this November scratch workshop are threatened.
Don Jedlic - Oktober Revolution photo.
Previously, CACA received just under $40,000 annually in Community Investment Funds to support activities like an after-school program, neighbourhood clean-up day, graffiti removal services and numerous recreational and social opportunities for young and old alike.
Grants spread thin
Discussion about a new funding formula began in 2005. The stated goals were: reduce inconsistencies; update the mandate and objectives of the funding program, and make grants to inner city communities available to neighbourhoods outside Regina’s core. During the past several months, the City Administration developed various proposals to take money previously earmarked for eight inner-city communities, and spread it among 26 Community Associations City-wide. The final proposal provides $369,000 in 2007 – compared to about $350,000 in 2006 – while expanding eligibility to 18 additional associations.
For the first time, what the City calls ‘high socio-economic status’ neighbourhoods are now eligible for grants totaling $27,000 in 2007. The major source of the funding shift arises from cuts to the Cathedral, Argyle Park and Al Ritchie Community Associations. As well, the City’s five Zone Boards – which support recreational sports and other community leisure activities – will have their funding pool reduced from $75,000 to $35,000 annually.
Under the new policy, CACA will be eligible to apply for up to $32,000 in 2007 and a maximum of $25,000 in following years. There is no guarantee the association will receive the full allocation.Despite the savings, if all Community Associations apply for their maximum eligible amounts, the pot will need to be $494,000, or $125,000 more than the budget once the changes are fully implemented in 2008. In answer to this dilemma, the proposal states that stringent rules – like a requirement to provide 150 hours of community programs and communications tools like a newsletter or website – will discourage applications from many of the volunteer-run associations, making a deficit unlikely.
Services may be eliminated
Although our volunteer board members plan to investigate a number of options for the replacement of lost funding, the ultimate result may be a reduction or elimination of services that CACA is able to provide to our community. It will also hamper our ability to participate in City-sponsored initiatives, like the graffiti management program. Funding and policy changes such as this can have irreversible impacts, once community activities disappear, they are difficult to revive. We will require additional volunteer support to keep our Community Association vibrant.
Because the funding reduction deeply affects our whole community, CACA is committed to ensuring residents are kept informed of further developments. A copy of the policy proposal is posted on the City’s website at http://www.regina.ca/pdfs/meeting_agenda/2006_PCS06-58_PCS06-58.pdf.
You may also call the CACA office at 569-8755 for a copy and further information.
Aaron A. Murray,
President, Cathedral Area Community Association