Four sports groups get a new funding source

Four sporting organizations are getting more stable funding after a change to the way they get cash from the Yukon government.

Four sporting organizations are getting more stable funding after a change to the way they get cash from the Yukon government.

Sport Yukon, Special Olympics Yukon, the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle and the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon used to all get funding through the Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee’s annual grants. If this week’s territorial budget is approved, the Yukon government will now fund the groups directly through Community Services’s sport and recreation branch.

The change involves more than just paper pushing, said minister Currie Dixon. He said it “gives these four groups the certainty and consistency of knowing exactly how much money they’re going to get and they don’t have to go through the process of applying to YRAC.”

Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee is a middle-man of sorts. The committee gets money from the Yukon and federal governments as well as Lotteries Yukon and then divides it up between groups that apply for funding.

Last year the pot totalled about $1.15 million, including $400,000 from the Yukon government.

Each new fiscal year requires a new application from groups, and there’s no guarantee they’ll get the same amount from the committee every time. It all depends on how many groups want a piece of the pie. There are 28 sport governing bodies in the territory that could apply for money.

Under the new method, Sport Yukon will receive $130,000 in annual funding, Special Olympics gets $50,000, the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon will receive $70,000 and the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle will receive $50,000.

The annual funding will continue “indefinitely. This is the way it is now,” according to the minister.

The groups were chosen because they are umbrella organizations that deal with more than a single sport, Dixon said.

Without those four groups the $300,000 they would usually receive in grants will now be available to other sports, he said.

“This is the biggest increase in sport funding that I’m aware of ever.”

Sport Yukon executive director Tracey Bilsky said applying for the grant from the committee every year is a “daunting” task.

Sport Yukon would get the money every year – about the same that they’ll now get from community services – but it meant putting together paperwork often around the same time as the Arctic Winter Games.

Bilsky said the number of groups applying for the fund has been going up, but the size of the fund hasn’t changed in “20-odd years.”

Though Sport Yukon’s grant has been relatively consistent, “we sensed that our funding was going to slowly chip away and go down,” she said.

The $130,000 is just one piece of funding Sport Yukon relies on, she said. It’s considered core funding to maintain staff and core services.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief for us that we now can have ongoing planning and long-term planning,” she said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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