Two Lloydminster organizations will be seeing a more secure and sustainable cash flow for the next few years.
The city is entering into a three year funding agreement with the Vic Juba Community Theatre Board and Startup Lloydminster. As per the agreement, Vic Juba will receive $181,500 for 2021 and then a two per cent increase in the following years. Similarly, the city will provide Startup Lloydminster with $80,000 this year with a two per cent increase in each following year.
As part of the new deal, the theatre board will have to provide a 5-10 year capital plan which will be included in the city’s overall capital budget. Councillor Aaron Buckingham, who sits on the board, says they are already in the process of building the plan.
The board will also continue requesting grant and other funding options for theatre upgrades. The theatre used to be funded through an annual third-party funding request but city administration wants to be more proactive in supporting city-owned facilities.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers says while the current theatre building is in good condition, the new agreement will help ensure the facility stays well-kept.
“We don’t want to see another facility [go] unless it’s deemed end of life because of its age rather than choices made by council. I think it’s clear to this council today that we need to ensure that those are addressed.”
The agreement also allows the city to alter their funding if programming requirements are not met. He adds no recreation or culture facility is profitable but the theatre still provides a good service and value to the community.
“Before the pandemic, on average I believe they were well into the 90 percentile range of seating with lots of sold out shows. The facility is well used. It’s well managed by a board of directors who are volunteers working with some paid staff.”
Startup Lloydminster was also previously funded through the annual third-party funding request process but will now be considered as budgeted item for the city under the economic development operational expenses. During the meeting, Councillor Michael Diachuk mentioned the agreement helps provide stability to one of the resources needed as the city looks towards economic recovery and development. Aalbers echoes the sentiment.
“It provides a huge impact for our city for those that are entrepreneurs or are thinking of starting a new business or just started a new business and are seeking assistance. That assistance is paid for partly by Lloydminster taxpayers to help ensure businesses have an opportunity to grow.”
The city notes entrepreneurship is a large part of the Lloydminster identity and the city has consistently ranked in the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s top 10 entrepreneurial cities. In 2018, Lloydminster ranked third in entrepreneurial presence mid-sized cities, behind Squamish and Collington.