Issuu on Google+

LEGION: Getting a new lease on life A3 Friday, July 6, 2012 Guess who’s coming to Prince George in September? A10 Newsline 250-564-0005 Outstanding Citizens Te re s a M A LLA M / Fre e Pre s s Prince George Community Foundation vice-president Ray Noonan (left) welcomes 2012 Citizen of the Year nominees Monica Peacock, Bob D’Auray and Kathy Nadalin (nominees Dee and Ron Neukomm are not present) and 2011 Citizen of the Year Darrell Hubbell during Canada Day celebrations Sunday at Fort George Park. Funding crunch for business centre DeLynda Pilon With federal funding cuts nearly certain, the Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre may have to close its doors in the spring after serving the area since 1996. “We’ve been told this is your last year, and that it’s not written in stone but really hard concrete,” CEO Vince Prince said. However, he added, that will not prevent the organization from applying. Prince explained the federal funding is matched by the province, and those two main sources of money are what makes it possible to keep the AB&CDC afloat. “That is the core of the money coming into our organization. If we lose one (federal) then we lose the other (provincial),” he said. Finding a continuous stream of funding has been a constant battle for the organization. A three-year funding agreement ensured operations continued smoothly for a time, however that ended in 2010. Since then it’s been back to struggling to find the means to keep the doors open. The organization offers a lot to the community, from financial literacy courses to a variety of workshops to helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. “Why do we matter?” asked Prince, who explained staff at the centre asked themselves the same thing during a recent meeting. “I think part of it is that capacity is growing in the First Nations community. This office is for all of the people who feel slighted by other organization.” Great Canadian & TOUCHLESS CAR WASH For many locals, trying to get through the intricate process of seeking support through calling similar offices in other areas is difficult and sets up another road block to success. “We are a very verbal organization. It is tough for our clients to do this over the phone. It’s about explaining the process, and that often makes the difference between yes and no when it comes to getting support,” Prince said. “When you’re messing with people’s dreams you want to get them to yes.” He added for much of the community, the existence of their office doesn’t matter, and for the portion of the Aboriginal community not involved in a business venture they don’t matter. However for the dozens who are helped, it does matter. The millions of dollars that are infused back into the local economy also matters, he said. Nevertheless, this spring it looked like the centre would have to close its doors. Then funding came in later in the year, meaning they could remain viable one more year. “So we have this little bit of grace time. We know it is what it is and nothing lasts forever. Federal cuts have hit a lot of places,” he said, adding many cuts have affected First Nations programming. “This is driving Aboriginal communities deeper into poverty,” Prince pointed out. However, even though things look grim, Prince isn’t ready to give up. He will continue to seek funding, aggressively looking for any route that will mean the AB&CDC can keep its doors open. DRIVE THROUGH OIL CHANGE • New Car Warranty Approved • No Appointment Necessary • Fast, Friendly Service Look for the Shiny Glass Building on the corner of 15th & Central 250-563-0762 AND on the Hart 250-962-9023

Friday, July 6, 2012 Free Press

Related publications