Sackville festivals and trusts make their case for why town council should fund them this year
Limited funds may mean tough choices for the Sackville town council in the upcoming year. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the town council listened to suggestions from the public about where they should prioritize funding in the 2018 budget. The meeting focused on organizational grants, where $81,000 was allocated to community groups in 2017.
Shawn Bostick, representing the Sackville Festival of Early Music, was the first to present to council. He explained that the festival presents medieval, Renaissance and baroque music to seniors and school-aged children through outreach programs in the senior college, the Drew Nursing Home and public schools. In previous years, all of the funds provided by the town were allocated to such programs, and Bostick encouraged the town to invest in the 2018 festival as well. “We’ve been pleased with the growth of the outreach program in all its capacities,” said Bostick. “I don’t know yet what sort of twists and turns we’ll have for the next festival in 2018, but the board is excited and inspired by all this growth and all the things we’ve been able to do.”
Karen Valanne then presented on the importance of the Tantramar Heritage Trust, explaining that the organization owns Sackville’s Boultenhouse and Carriage Factory museums. It also organizes community events such as the annual Heritage Day breakfast and the annual Strawberry Social. Valanne explained that much of the trust’s budget comes from donations at these events, and that the trust is looking for continued financial support from the Town of Sackville budget in addition to these donations.
The Live Bait Theatre then spoke briefly before the council. Treasurer Cynthia Spurles said, “Our mandate is enhancing cultural life of the central Maritime region, telling entertaining, thought-provoking stories with an emphasis on the Canadian script.” The theatre would use funds from council to continue to bring cultural events to town.
Following this, chair Kate Bredin presented on behalf of Renaissance Sackville, a group that the town has given funds to in the past. This organization funds programs in the non-profit sector, and is often one of the only sources of funding for small groups, such as Perpetual Motion Dance Studio and Bagtown Brewery. “Funding community organizations helps make Sackville a wonderful community to live in and a great place to visit,” said Bredin. Renaissance Sackville asked for ongoing financial support from the town so that the program can continue fostering Sackville’s economic development in 2018.
The final presentation was the Tantramar Outdoor Club. This presentation was delivered by Ross Thomas, the club’s vice-president, who made suggestions regarding a pedway connecting the Tantramar Wetlands Centre and Waterfowl Park trails. “It would be remarkable if you could see people with great incentive to use the trail system,” Thomas said. He also urged the council to allocate money for building gates to prevent ATV usage in the wetland environments: “When ATVs are on that trail, then people don’t want to walk on it because they don’t feel safe, and gates are not all that expensive.”
At the end of the presentations, council thanked the participants and motioned to adjourn the meeting. While council did not make any decisions that evening, they encouraged Sackvillians to stay tuned to see how the budget is used in 2018.