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Extra $5,000 for theatre tentatively approved by Comox council

Comox council has tentatively approved an additional $5,000 per year for five years for the Sid Williams Theatre following a review of the second draft of the financial plan Wednesday.

The five-year capital and operational budget would see the $25,000 increase spread from 2013 to 2017 — providing the theatre with $20,000 a year, up from $15,000.

"It is the Valley theatre. The Town of Comox surely doesn't want to build its own theatre," said Coun. Patti Fletcher. "It's a great asset that is utilized 365 days of the year."

Council agreed to the increase on the condition the additional funds be found within the budget, ensuring the increase does not cause an increase in tax rates.

Fletcher, who created the motion, noted there is $40,000 budgeted for Nautical Days, and asked if funds could be drawn from the event's budget.

"When I see that we're doing $40,000 for Nautical Days — and I love Nautical Days — but it's three days out of the year, and I think $20,000 to the Sid is reasonable."

Members of the Sid Williams Theatre Society asked council in January for an increase of $10,000 in grant funding, and stability of funding through a budget line item, rather than approving discretionary grants every year.

"The Sid is doing an excellent job, and it is in very tight circumstances," said Coun. Barbara Price. "I think the $20,000 does reflect ... that we do have a first-rate theatre in our community that is open to all us."

Council unanimously voted to approve the motion.

The final draft of the budget will be on the council agenda for the Feb. 27 meeting, and will adopted in May.

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