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City of Cold Lake declines further funding for Strathcona Performing Arts Centre in 2024

COLD LAKE - The City of Cold Lake has decided not to approve an additional $50,000 request from the Clayton Bellamy Foundation, citing budget constraints for 2024. However, the item could be brought back to the table for 2025.

On Feb. 13, during a regular council meeting, City council concluded the additional funding could not be accommodated for the Strathcona Performing Arts Centre project within the current budget.

This decision followed a regular council meeting on Jan. 23, where Clayton Bellamy and Lise Fielding, representing the Clayton Bellamy Foundation, had initially requested more funding due to rising inflation costs.

CAO Kevin Nagoya provided a comprehensive overview of the situation, emphasizing that the foundation had already received $85,000 from the City of Cold Lake.

The foundation is gearing up to build a cutting-edge, 340-seat theatre at Bonnyville Centralized High School. Established during the pandemic, the Clayton Bellamy Foundation aims to offer Lakeland youth opportunities for bursaries to pursue post-secondary education in the arts. Additionally, they plan to create engaging programs covering dance, music, art, and drawing.

Currently, $1.5 million has been raised for the project, the initial cost estimate being $1.7 million. However, due to inflation, the lowest bid for construction came in at $3.1 million. As a result, the project will now be completed in two phases and several items were removed from the design, bringing the cost down to $2.4 million.

Nagoya pointed out that the primary reason for the request was the escalating construction costs associated with the project.

"Our advice was that we would respectfully decline any more donations, but that is up to City council in terms of its donations," stated Nagoya, explaining administration's recommendation.

Coun. Chris Vining echoed the sentiment, expressing concerns about the timing and financial constraints faced by the City of Cold Lake. He emphasized the need to be mindful of fiscal responsibilities.

Vining suggested deferring the decision to the 2025 budget year, stating, "I don't think we're in a position to say that we have $50,000 kicking around to push more money into this project."

Nagoya proposed reviewing the matter in the fall and incorporating it into the 2025 budget deliberations.

Vining made a motion to formally decline the funding request but revisit the matter during 2025 budget deliberations.

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week