Budget 2013

Now that the dust from yesterday's reading of the provincial budget has settled just a little, I thought you might be interested in a few details re. it's impact on the heritage sector. 

First, the good news ....

There are no cuts to the Cultural Economic Development Program's (CEDP) operational and project grants to heritage organizations in this province. Horray! Jerry Dick,  Director of Heritage with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, suggested that this good news was due in large part to the on-going collaboration between the department and the sector on the CEDP's program review. Kudos to MANL, ANLA and the department for all their hard work. Looks like those long and sometimes heated discussions paid off. 

There are no cuts to permanent positions at the Provincial Historic Sites ... although we'll have to wait and see what impact bumping within the public sector will have on PHS staff. I'm not 100% sure about seasonal positions at the sites. I've made some enquiries and will keep you updated. 

Now, the not so good news ....

The Budget for the Rooms has been cut by approximately $1 million (that's about 15% of its total operating budget). In an interview with CBC, Dean Brinton, CEO of the Rooms, stated that with a cut of that magnitude "job losses are unavoidable". 

CEDP funding for the Heritage Cluster Pilot Project (involving 15 heritage organizations on the Great Northern Peninsula) has not been renewed. However, the cluster did receive a grant from the province earlier this month to assist the group in transitioning into its new form.

Fees at Provincial Historic Sites will double from $3 to $6 for a single adult admission. Free days have been eliminated. It will be interesting to see how this affects overall attendance figures at the sites during the upcoming season. My hunch is that it will have little or no impact on non-resident visitation, but that the loss of free days will significantly affect local visitation. 

There will be no additional funding for the Heritage Foundation's Fisheries Heritage Preservation Program (FHPP) which provides small project restoration grants of up to $10,000 to owners of historic fisheries buildings. While unfortunate, the cut is not a big shock, as applications to the program have been declining. 

I'm still trying to confirm the impact of yesterday's budget on programs administered by the department of Industry, Business and Rural Development (IBRD). While many people place heritage within the purview of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, those of us within the sector know that IBRD's training/capacity building grants and project funding play an important role in sustaining community-based heritage organizations in this province.

Stay tuned.