Comox Valley theatre having trouble making ends meet

To avoid a budget shortfall of $35,000 to $40,000, the Sid Williams Theatre Society has asked Comox council for more grant funding.

To avoid a budget shortfall of $35,000 to $40,000, the Sid Williams Theatre Society has asked Comox council for an increase of $10,000 in grant funding.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, Catherine Miller, president of the SWTS, explained 2012 was a baseline year for the society, as it was the first full year of working within structural and regulatory changes implemented in 2011.

“Despite not meeting all of our budget expectations, the Sid Williams Theatre Society is in improved financial shape from when we met with you a year ago,” she said.

Last year, the SWTS requested from council a grant for a $20,000, and received $15,000.

Miller noted due to sacrifices by staff, postponed equipment updates, and no cost-of-living increases as a result from fewer funds received from local government grants, the SWTS is in improved financial shape from a year ago.

She did add the deferrals cannot be repeated in 2013.

“They are what created the problems in 2010, and neither the volunteer board or theatre operations can afford to repeat the past two and a half years.”

Miller noted the City of Courtenay assisted with a one-time grant of $60,000, which provided critical operating capital.

“We exited 2011 with a $30,000 capital deficit that would have shut the society down if not for this grant,” she explained.

She said operational needs must be funded properly or the society exposes clients, patrons and staff to undue risk and unacceptable liability.

“Without adequate funding, we have no chance of achieving our operational mission or other society mandates and goals,” Miller added.

She said other community theatres throughout the province with similar mandates and operations receive an average of 40 per cent of their operational revenue from local government funding.

“Prior to 2011, we were required to operate at between 25 to 28 per cent and the results were not satisfactory. We just kept falling further behind, culminating in our difficulties through 2010 and the required ongoing response initiated in 2011.”

Miller added although their budget for 2013 does not address the issue of building capital reserves, the society must build adequate reserves for operational cash flow, capital replacement and to weather unexpected circumstances that could interrupt programming.

She explained the SWTS receives funding from its operations, City of Courtenay contributions and Comox Valley recreational culture funding (discretionary grants from Courtenay, Comox and the Comox Valley Regional District).

The SWTS believes this portion of funding should be aligned more equitably among the three governments, she said.

This year, using population stats from the 2011 census, the society is requesting $25,000 from the Town.

Miller also asked the Town to consider finding a way to fund the organization and other similar ones on a more stable basis through a budget line item, rather than approving discretionary grants every year.

Mayor Paul Ives said the request will be considered as council works through and approves the budget in the coming weeks.

Just Posted

Comox Valley Schools to see trustee shakeup next fall

Four of seven trustees have stated they will not run for re-election in October

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Merville water bottling proposal heading to public hearing

A contentious business proposal in Merville will be going to a public… Continue reading

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Fish farm protest held in Comox

The rally took place on Comox Avenue, concluding at the entry to the BC Seafood Festival

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

North Island College gets $328,000 for forestry education funding

Announcement in Campbell River part of $1 million around B.C.

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

Most Read