Update on KHC Funding Petition

Ziggy AGOG line-upJuly 7, 2014

As reported in this week’s Golden Star, the Town and Area A have agreed to continue the cultural service delivery agreement with Kicking Horse Culture for another 3 year term.

At a recent CSRD Board meeting, Mayor Benty presented a document that made a strong case for the continuation of this cultural services agreement. Read more here: Mayor_Benty-Golden-Area_A-Cultural_Services

On behalf of our Society’s members and volunteers, board, staff, and the 883 folks who signed the petition asking for the continuance of the funding for our cultural service delivery agreement, we would like to offer our very sincere thanks to Mayor Christina Benty & Council and Regional Electoral Director Garry Habart for their vote of confidence.

It is a very gratifying outcome and, as always, we will continue to work hard to honour our promise to the community to help make Golden “a great place to live and visit.”

Thank you all for your continuing support,

Bill Usher, Executive Director

Board of Kicking Horse Culture:                                      

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).

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KHC promised three years of secure funding

After months of uncertainty, debate, and public outcry, Kicking Horse Culture will finally have some stability when a three-year contract gets drawn up for the cultural services organization.

Although it had been the preference of council to continue funding KHC through taxation, as had been done before the demise of Golden Area Initiatives, the Town has agreed to set up a three year funding deal with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District to fund KHC, using money from the Economic Opportunities Fund.

The dollar amount will remain the same, allowing KHC to continue their year round cultural services, including concerts, art shows, other performances, and the annual Snow King Parade. The free Summer Kicks series is funded separately by the Town.

“I’m worried that there will be potential lost opportunities by taking that much money out of the fund every year,” said Coun. Ron Oszust, who voted against using the EOF funds along with Coun. Connie Barlow. The $120,000 a year will be taken out of the fund, and will not be available for other projects.

“I would hate to lose out on an opportunity because the money isn’t there.”

Councillors Chris Hambruch, Caleb Moss, and Mayor Christina Benty all agreed that this wasn’t their first choice, but voted in favour as it was made clear by the CSRD that they were not supportive of returning to a taxation model.

“If there is a project that we want to fund, we can always tax for it. That’s still an option, we’re just doing it in reverse,” said Moss.

The decision was made at the June 24 council meeting after a letter from the CSRD was received with this proposal.

The letter also contained the request to use the leftover GAI funds towards Kicking Horse Culture. Council will be sending a letter back asking that any proposals for the use of GAI funds be sent to the GAI Board, as Town Council has no authority over those dollars. © Golden Star June 29, 2014

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April 14, 2014

We have now gathered over 850 signatures since we launched the petition back in March. By the end of this month we will be tabulating all of the data collected and readying it for presentation to the CSRD Board at the May meeting. Mayor Christina Benty will be speaking on behalf of the Petition at the CSRD Board meeting.

Last Friday night April 11, Ballet Kelowna came back into town for their 10th anniversary season. KHC has been supporting and booking Ballet Kelowna for 6 of those 10 years, bringing wonderful dance to Golden audiences. When they first came to the ‘old’ Civic Centre, there was no stage for the company to perform on – they performed on the floor! Now, we have a performing arts centre and they can put on a show that’s as good as seen anywhere. That’s one example of what your small annual taxpayer contribution has made possible.

By the way, the Friday night performance was in front of a SOLD OUT audience of 300. Just over 70 children and youth were also in the audience. The afternoon before, the BK dancers hosted a hip hop dance workshop for over 40 students at the Civic Centre.

If you care about the arts and the benefits they bring for our community, please go now to sign the petition .

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. The undoing of CSRD Area A’s partnership with the Town of Golden for the cultural service delivery agreement will be catastrophic for KHC and the arts programming the community presently enjoys.

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 help us.

We invite locals and visitors alike to sign the petition.

Please sign the petition now: http://chn.ge/1lCswRQ

Some perspective: In 2006, Mayor Jim Doyle and Town Council collaborated with CSRD Area A Regional Director Ron Oszust to direct tax dollars for 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 handed over as cash for the restoration of the Civic Centre, and 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 in the local economy.

This collaborative model between both local governments 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 and the 60 local artists represented plus the community-building exhibits like Adventurers & SettlersGOLDEN. 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 you. Please add your voice to the petition and ask your neighbours to sign it too.

Please sign the petition here: http://chn.ge/1lCswRQ

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).