Posted on Mar 24, 2021
UCP HARMS COMMUNITY GROUPS ACROSS ALBERTA WITH REPEATED CUTS
EDMONTON - Budget cuts proposed by the UCP to the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) are leaving community operators of halls, playgrounds, gardens, outdoor skating rinks and water spray parks across the province concerned over their ability to stay open.
This is the second year the UCP have made cuts to the program, reducing the full amount by almost 50 per cent. Alberta’s NDP and organizations from across the province are calling for an immediate reversal to the cuts.
“Every single neighbourhood in every corner of this province can see these grants in action in their local facilities,” said NDP Culture Critic Nicole Goehring. “The UCP are trying to take that away by defunding and devaluing these spaces, all so Jason Kenney can pay for the billions he’s thrown away on his corporate handouts, failed bet on Donald Trump, and his $30-million-a-year war room.”
Since the UCP was elected, CFEP funding has fallen from $38 million to $18.5 million in Budget 2021.
“Provincial support and encouragement through financial means are needed to maintain the important pieces of community framework and infrastructure where Albertans meet, stay healthy and active as well as foster well-being and social connection,” reads a letter signed by more than 150 community associations and leagues from across the province.
The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, along with the Federation of Calgary Communities penned the letter to the government when learning about the budget cuts, and brought the letters to the Official Opposition to table in the Legislature this week.
“These community hubs bring residents together, while providing vital services and spaces that encourage interconnectedness, and supports neighbours and local businesses,” said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, Executive Director for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.
“Albertans, like myself, use these spaces to teach their children to skate. They got married in these spaces. People hope to be able to host fundraisers in these spaces again, once it is safe to do so. These are important buildings to every single community across the province,” Goehring said. “I’m calling on the UCP to immediately reinstate the funding to CFEP so that these vital spaces in our backyards can survive.”