County contemplates financial help to community groups

·2 min read

The County of Grande Prairie may provide some emergency funding to community groups that have struggled to raise funds amid COVID restrictions and economic downturn.

County reeve Leanne Beaupre said council will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis at future council meetings.

“We’ve seen a lot of our organizations, groups and not-for-profits that rely heavily on either fundraising or activities for revenue have not been able to meet their targets,” Beaupre said.

“Some of these organizations may end up coming to council looking for help over and above what the provincial and federal governments have put out there.”

The prospect of providing emergency funding to community groups arose at a county council committee meeting in late February.

Beaupre said council is aware of the community groups’ financial issues because some of the organizations’ members have approached the county.

The parks and recreation department has been “approachable” to community organizations, whose members have filled in county staff about these difficulties, she added.

Community groups seeking county aid must demonstrate a need and should prepare up-to-date financial statements, Beaupre said.

The groups will approach the parks and rec department where the members will fill out questionnaires, she said.

County council’s committee of the whole also approved a motion during its Feb. 19 meeting asking community groups to seek federal and provincial grants.

Beaupre said some organization members are unaware provincial and federal assistance is available, so council hopes to promote those programs.

“We want to make sure they access those programs first before they come to the county,” she said.

“Those programs were put in place specifically to help organizations and we want to make sure they take full advantage of that.”

The county can provide emergency funding through funds under the 2020 budget allocated to projects that didn’t go forward, Beaupre said.

Christine Rawlins, county parks and rec manager, said her department has a surplus of $56,650 in grant funds for emergency requests.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News