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City looking to create programming for COVID-19 funding requests

The Grande Prairie Live Theatre and many other local not-for-profit groups will have to wait to find out if they can get short term financial help from the city.

The GPLT, which had a delegation at Tuesday’s Community Services Committee, asked the city for an additional $20,000 in funding under the COVID-19 emergency fund. Manager Wayne Ayling says they have seen their revenue severely drop due to the virus and provincial health orders.

“We cannot offer all of our patrons full access to our theatres, as we have to comply with social distancing. We’ve lost quite a bit of revenue that would be used to pay the bills and ensure we keep going.”

Members of the committee, rather than dealing with individual requests as they come in, have asked city staff to look into the possibility of a more streamlined approach on a bigger scale.

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Mayor Bill Given hopes the recommendations can put the city in a position to respond quickly, thoughtfully, and consistently for similar requests. He adds a lot of the focus in the first few months of the pandemic was on public heath and then the personal impacts and the time is now right to switch gears to the wider scope.

“A lot of these organizations that are vital to life in Grande Prairie might have been things that we didn’t think about from the start. I think it’s important for all of us to think about the organizations and groups that make Grande Prairie liveable place, and the impact the pandemic is having on them, and support them, so they can continue to be there for us in the future.”

No timeline as to when the discussion will return to city council has been made public.

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