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Whitehorse council considers $100,000 in community funding

Twenty-eight organizations have been flagged for possible funding
Andrew McKenzie tests his strength by seeing how far he can toss a log during Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous in Whitehorse on Feb. 22, 2020. Whitehorse city council is considering recreation and special events grants with Rendezvous among the potential recipients for 2022. (Yukon News file)

More than $100,000 could soon be making its way to 28 local organizations as Whitehorse city council considers grants for special events and recreation programs.

At council’s Nov. 8 meeting, members were presented with recommendations that would see the city spend $50,000 on special events and festivals in 2022 along with a further $44,765 worth of in-kind support; as well as $54,850 in recreation grants.

Recreation programs

The largest proposed financial grants are in the recreation grant category at $7,000 to three programs: the Learning Disabilities of the Yukon for its Camp Raven program, the Yukon Arts Society for art and crafts programs and the Yukon Theatre for Young People for a theatrical performance.

Both the Yukon Theatre for Young People and the Yukon Arts Society could also see a further $1,100 in another recreation grant category that goes towards operational costs. They are among five groups proposed to receive the operational grant. The others include the Canadian - Filipino Sports Association of Yukon; Larrikin Entertainment; and the Whitehorse Curling Club.

Other proposed recreation grants would see $2,040 go to Chickadees Playschool Association for programming; $2,968 to the Granger Community Association for rink nets; $3,426 for the Filipino sports association for a winter sports tournament; $3,675 to the Japanese Canadian Association of the Yukon for equipment; $5,000 to the Yukon Film Society for its Keeping Whitehorse Cinema Alive project; $5,400 to the Community Choir of Whitehorse with $3,600 of that for a video production and $1,800 for the choral program; and $5,850 to the Arctic Edge Skating Club for its Gold Nugget Championships.

As program leadhand Keri Rutherford explained in a report to council, nearly all of the funding for the recreation grants comes from the Community Lotteries program, though the city contributes operational funding (as Lotteries does not cover operational costs) with a recreation grant total of $241,238 available in 2021 and split between the spring and fall grants.

“The recreation grant task force received and reviewed 15 applications totaling $70,709.54 in requests,” Rutherford said.

She noted the recreation task force will be looking for new members in the near future as some terms are expired. It’s anticipated that will come before council later this in the coming weeks.

Special events

After Coun. Mellisa Murray declared a conflict on the special events funding and left council chambers while the funding was discussed, acting parks and recreation manager Arbor Webster brought forward the recommendation for $50,000 to be spent.

“The City of Whitehorse is committed to the development and support of special community events and festival celebrations in Whitehorse that provide vibrant and diverse community experiences for both residents and visitors,” she said.

The largest proposed individual cash grants are for $6,000 each to Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism for the Adäka Cultural Festival 2022 from June 30 to July 7; the Yukon Quest International Association for its sled dog race from Feb. 13 to 19; the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society for its festival from Feb. 11 to 27; and the Heart of Riverdale Community Association’s CypherFest Street Dance and Music Festival from July 21 to 24.

Along with the cash grant, each of those organizations with the exception of the Heart of Riverdale is also proposed to receive in-kind assistance worth $22,493 for Rendezvous; $7,216 for Adäka and $5,256 for the Quest.

Other special events grants would range from $800 to $5,000.

The $800 grant would go to the All-City Band Society for its Music for a Winter’s Eve event on Dec. 12 and 13, 2022.

Other grants would see $1,500 each for the Association franco-yukonnaise for its Solstice Saint-Jean on June 23 and the Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce for its Re-Awakening event Oct. 14.

The Yukon Circus Society would receive $1,700 for Dogtown: The Musical from Sept. 6 to 10.

The Yukon Arts Centre would receive $2,500 for its Midnight Sun Moppets Children’s Festival on May 23 with $4,000 identified for each the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre’s National Indigenous People’s Day celebrations on June 21 and Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival from Jan. 19 to 31.

A total of $5,000 would go to each the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254 for its Canada Day celebrations July 1 and for the Yukon Film Society’s Available Light Film Festival Feb. 4 to 21. Each would also be eligible for in-kind support valued at $5,670 for the film society and $4,129 for the Legion.

Questioned by Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu about the possibility of events not happening due to COVID-19, Webster explained any of the events could be rescheduled from the date specified in the application, but if they aren’t able to be held at all through 2022, groups would be required to return the funding to the city.

Coun. Kirk Cameron also questioned the amounts proposed for applicants, noting that in some cases applicants are recommended to receive the full amount requested while others would receive less then requested.

As Webster explained, a number of factors are considered when grant recommendations are made: if the organization is in good financial standing, a clear objective for the event, and a proven track record among other factors.

In cases where newer events are being hosted, the grant recommended may be less than the group applied for as it doesn’t have the track record yet that a more established event might have.

Council will vote on the grants Nov. 15.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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