ASH forgoes Town allocation from 2021 budget

·2 min read

The Home for Fine Arts Society of Hinton (ASH) that is responsible for running the West Fraser Guild, is not asking the Town for a budget contribution this year.

ASH managed to operate with only a small portion of the 2020 operating capital anticipated and now find themselves in an unprecedented situation.

“This has been a year of hardship all around and although we are optimistic that we will be able to have our facility operating even in a modified way, we are confident that we can do this with the money we have saved during this shut down,” said Hannah Siermachensky, on behalf of ASH.

In the 2020 budget, $55,000 was allocated for ASH.

Due to the pandemic and for patron safety and the health of the community, ASH decided to close its doors in March of 2020 along with most other government facilities.

Although provincial guidelines have lessened restrictions, events and functions are still mostly on hold due to the significant reduced capacity.

This reduced capacity makes it difficult for most User Groups to use the space to fit their needs.

Currently the West Fraser Guild: Home of the Performing Arts Theatre of Hinton (PATH), is being underutilized.

“We are comfortable with this state as it is what is best for our Community as a whole. Arts and Culture are essential to the community but in this current health crisis we want to be respectful

of the needs of the whole,” Siermachensky said.

ASH feels that part of bettering the community is taking care of all of its needs and they understand that there will be even more unexpected expenses this year.

They feel their 2021 appropriation will better the community if left in the hands of Town Council to distribute according to need.

“Together we will survive and thrive even with COVID-19 and the West Fraser Guild and the ASH board look forward to welcoming our community back through our doors once it is safe to do so,” Siermachensky said.

She clarified that none of their projects or assets would be put in jeopardy by not asking for a budget contribution.

“That’s fiscally responsible, unprecedented, and certainly welcome given the fact that we’re all in such a difficult position this last year. To come forward and let council know that you’ve, as a society, been fiscally responsible enough to take care of your capital considerations and understanding where you are at from COVID and not putting forward a request for appropriation, it’s very appreciated and very responsible,” said Coun. Ryan Maguhn.Siermachensky noted that ASH didn’t actually receive last year’s allocation until about a month ago, since they didn’t need it earlier.

This is what prompted them to decide not to ask for additional funds in the upcoming budget.

Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice