‘Humbled’ society gets funding boost

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Another club in High Prairie is feeling the financial pinch.

But they are getting some help from two local governments.

High Prairie town council agreed to give the Ukrainian Cultural Society of High Prairie $1,000 Feb. 26 while Big Lakes County chipped in with $150 the next day. Town council will be adding another $1,000 if the society is eligible under the FCSS grant.

Michael Strebchuk appeared as a delegation before town council and told the club’s dire need.

“We’re really short of funds,” he said.

“It’s been a hard three years,” he added. “Money’s tight. We’re $10,000 short.”

Strebchuk told council that Zirka dancers registration is down to about 25 this year, and current volunteers – he called them Babas – are burnt out.

“It’s the same 10-12 people on our board,” he said.

“It’s humbling coming and asking you for money.”

The club is not expecting a huge cash infusion until later this year when they hold their next casino so there will be no revenue from their casino account until 2020.

To try and balance the books the club did not hire instructors from Edmonton this season to cut expenses.

“We just cannot make it,” said Strebchuk.

“It’s been a bad three years for funding.”

The annual Zabava held March 2 was also far from a sellout. At the meeting, Strebchuk said only about 250 of the 400 tickets were sold.

Councilllor Brian Gilroy moved to donate $1,000 while Councillor Arlen Quartly suggested adding another $1,000 if the society was eligible under the FCSS grant.

Meanwhile, Councillor Michael Long added he’d like to see matching donations of $2,000 from FCSS and council.

Mayor Brian Panasiuk expressed concern.

“For me, 25 dancers, $4,000 … seems like a lot for a small group,” adding perhaps half resided in town.

Councillor Donna Deynaka favoured $1,000 as did Councillor Judy Stenhouse.

“People are broke,” she said.

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