More community groups across county can apply for beautification grants

·2 min read

A community beautification initiatives grant policy will mean money for more groups and less for some.

The policy, adopted by County of Grande Prairie council during its meeting last week, will see its $9,000 budget offered to a wider variety of groups.

It means Valhalla Centre’s Communities in Bloom (CiB) can apply for $1,000 instead of its usual two-thirds of the county’s total annual beautification budget.

The county will be making $1,000 available to an additional eight groups under the new policy.

Christine Rawlins, county parks and rec manager, noted during Monday’s meeting the county is going into unchartered territory as nine rather than three groups can now receive $1,000 grants.

“It will be interesting to see what the response is this year - especially with the pandemic, people are closer to home and their neighbourhood (in) their focus,” Rawlins said.

County reeve Leanne Beaupre told the News this week the $1,000 can make a difference, including by inspiring community members.

“The grant helps to encourage donations, so we hope the community will match that in some sense, whether through sweat equity or other donations to the group,” she said.

County council voted in October to dissolve the CiB “stream” of two-thirds of the beautification budget, limiting the amount Valhalla’s CiB can apply for to $1,000.

Beaupre told Town & Country News last fall council felt the change would allow the “same funding amount” to be “spread it out amongst other areas, other than just our hamlets.”

Since the October meeting administration has revised the policy to remove mention of CiB, according to last week's county council agenda.

The policy states council will allocate the funding annually through the recreation and culture budget. Staff and council will review requests, Beaupre said.

Eligible expenses for the grant include plants like flowers, shrubs and trees, fertilizer, benches, picnic tables or community garden supplies.

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