Agrifair, Ledgeview among funding requests received by city of Abbotsford

The Abbotsford Agrifair needs $200,000 in funding from the city, or it may be the end of the event, Pamela Brenner, general manager of the fair, told council Monday.

The Ledgeview Golf Club Society made a similar request, seeking $250,000 in funding.

Each year the city supplies money to agencies providing a service to the community.

Last year, the city gave Agrifair $90,000 in funding, but the event still lost just over $20,000.

“Now we are planning for Agrifair 2012, facing significant financial challenges.”

In preparing the new budget, four options were considered by Agrifair’s directors – increase gate prices, reduce costs by cutting entertainment including the rodeo, acquire $200,000 from the city, or “close Agrifair’s doors,” said an emotional Brenner.

“Are you prepared to see the end of an event that has been in this community for 101 years?” she asked.

The Ledgeview Golf Club Society has never sought funding from the city before, but president Pat Differ said times have changed.

“We were experiencing some difficulties with respect to the decline in the economy and the decline in the golf business. We were at a point where we were having difficulty ... continuing throughout the end of our lease, which has another four years to go.”

After running the course successfully for the past 30 years, the club lost $112,000 in 2010, $240,000 in 2011 and is expecting to lose $150,000 this year.  Differ indicated the society is over-extended at the bank and may not be able to continue without the city’s support.

The group was created in 1978 to run the city’s public golf facility on McKee Road.

Council will debate the requests during its budget deliberations.

Other organizations seeking funding included:

n Abbotsford Arts Council – $25,000 plus $7,000 to cover the utilities for Kariton Gallery and renting city space. Last year the group received $18,000.

n The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford – $640,000, up from last year’s $625,000.

n Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre – $14,000, the same as last year.

n MSA Museum Society – $100,000,  compared to last year’s $50,000.

nAbbotsford Restorative Justice – $150,000, compared to $100,000 in 2011.

n Tourism Abbotsford – $70,000, the same as last year.

n Abbotsford Youth Commission – $225,000, up from last year’s $195,000.

Total requests add up to $1,681,000 compared to last year’s total of $1,162,000.

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