March 13, 2014

At last week’s March 4 Council meeting, Golden’s Town Council passed a motion to ask the CSRD Board to return to the long standing jointly funded tax model with the municipality for supporting Kicking Horse Culture. It is expected that the decision will come before the CSRD Board sometime in the next couple of months. Garry Habart, Regional Director of CSRD Area A in Golden has indicated he will not commit to continued financial support to Kicking Horse Culture when the current 3 year service contract expires Dec. 31, 2014.

Mayor BentyCouncillor Keith Hern has posted an interesting blog outlining his reasons for voting against Council’s motion last Tuesday. We urge you to read it. In his blog Keith notes, “Petitioning the CSRD board without complete analyses of the funding options and gaining the full support of the regional director is unlikely to succeed.”  We, the Board of Kicking Horse Culture — almost all of us who live in Area A —  commit to working with our staff, our Members, and our supporters over the next few weeks to gain the full support of the regional director Garry Habart. We invite you to add your voice by signing this petition.

Some perspective: In 2006, Mayor Jim Doyle and Town Council collaborated with CSRD Area A Regional Director Ron Oszust to direct tax dollars to base operational support of KHC. The two municipal partners drew up a service delivery agreement that detailed the cultural services KHC must provide by contract to merit the funding. Here’s a short excerpt from that 2006 contract between local government and KHC:

1. The Town and Rural Golden through their joint venture, the Society (Golden Area Initiatives), have agreed to provide core funding to KHC by way of a contract for cultural services from January 1st to December 31st, 2006 to the greater Golden area, and does not contemplate 2007 (Golden 50th Anniversary) or 2010 (Olympic) initiatives.

2. The Society acknowledges the growth and successful development of KHC’s business activity and that the Town and Rural Golden desire to provide operational support to sustain this level of activity and where possible provide opportunities for further growth.

3. This core funding will permit the transformation of KHC from a strictly volunteer organization to one with a complement of paid staff, thereby enabling a consistent and increasingly expanded and enhanced repertoire of cultural services under the terms of this and possible future contracts.

4. Funding is of a core operating nature, and is meant to enable KHC to procure human and office resources to operate sustainably while continuing to leverage and apply for appropriate external funding sources to also meet human resource needs and carry out the services within this contract.

Underpinning that legal contract were three promises that the KHC Board made to local government:

1. Partner with Kicking Horse Country, our provincial, federal, corporate stakeholders & our audiences to deliver vibrant, year-round cultural activity that will make “where” and “how” we live an “attraction”

2. Develop cultural activity as a catalyst to build upon and enhance our local traditions and further develop a strong “sense of place”

3. Fuel community economic development and tourism to help build the very real feeling that Golden is “a great place to live and visit”

KHC to loc gov chart $ 2013

Every three years, we the citizens elect our representatives to govern our community. We empower them to work on our behalf, to study the issues, and make the best decisions for us. In 2006, our local government politicians made a decision to use tax dollars to provide operating support to the non profit community arts council. Our elected representatives believed local government should support the delivery of cultural services to the regional Golden community and they took a chance that KHC was an efficient and effective model to deliver the best results. In 2006, they started with $30,000 each and then in 2007, buoyed by the results, they voted to increase their operational support to $40,000 each for a combined $80,000.  Four years later they voted to increase their combined contribution to $120,000.

Take a look at the “money” chart to see what happened.  Remember, this was a contractual relationship. If KHC didn’t deliver the community economic development that our elected representatives wanted, then why did they continue and increase their contribution?

Well, we can tell you that successive Town Councils under the leadership of Mayors Jim Doyle, Aman Virk, and Christina Benty along with Rural Golden Director Ron Oszust and the CSRD Board were all well aware that over the years KHC had become a powerful ally with Kicking Horse Country’s community economic development (CED) agenda and they knew a good thing when they saw it. From 2006 into 2013, Kicking Horse Country invested $600,000 to help support KHC’s operational capacity and that investment has helped create revenues totalling $2,794,000. KHC has created full-time jobs and supported part-time work efforts for dozens, if not hundreds of local people and suppliers.

KHC CED DriverAdd to that the more than $900,000 that KHC leveraged from 3rd party funders and provided in cash for the restoration of the Civic Centre, you can see that this has been a very wise financial investment by local government into arts and culture development. Given reasonable assumptions for economic impact analysis, one can reliably project that 60% of that total spending i.e. $2,216,400 was retained within the local economy.

This collaborative model between local government and Kicking Horse Culture is considered a remarkable success story by those across the province who study these kinds of municipal initiatives. This past September, KHC was asked by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to deliver a keynote “best practice” presentation on the successful Golden cultural delivery model to 250 elected politicians and municipal staffers at their annual provincial conference. This past November, KHC was financially audited by the Province of BC Gaming Branch and passed with flying colours. For the past 5 years, KHC has been adjudicated by the BC Arts Council as one of the top 5 out of 75 community arts councils in the province.  Because KHC brings in so much money from regional, provincial and federal funders to deliver our programs to the community, KHC helps make Golden “a great place to live and visit” at a fraction of the cost for Golden and Area A taxpayers.

Since 2004, Kicking Horse Culture has worked proactively and collaboratively to “engage, energize, and enrich” our community’s cultural and economic life. Imagine today’s Golden without a beautifully restored Civic Centre, a Spirit Square, Summer Kicks concerts, the Snow King’s MasqueParade, Film Kicks, the Art Gallery of Golden with 60 local artists represented and community-building exhibits like Adventurers & Settlers, GOLDEN. We Call This Home., and concerts featuring artists like Steve Earle, Bruce Cockburn, and Ziggy Marley along with dance artists like Ballet Kelowna and Motus O’s A Christmas Carol. All told, KHC presents about four dozen cultural events each year.

Your investment of taxpayer dollars these past 8 years has generated this success. But now, there is a move by a few to take it away. Our elected representatives need to hear your voice. Please sign the petition here.

Board of Kicking Horse Culture/Golden District Arts Council
Monica Parkinson, Chair (Area A); Wenche Sharp (Area A); Runa Bjarnason-Wilson (Area A); Nikki Dusseault (Town); John Denham (Area A); Doug Parkinson (Area A); Johanna Ward (Area A).