DC Budget 2019: history and literature on the chopping block

The Dawson Creek Library may close on Sundays; while the South Peace Historical Archives may close forever.

When it comes to City of Dawson Creek: Tough Cuts Budget 2019, one of the immediate impacts will be both Mile Zero history and literature.

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The South Peace Historical Archives may literally be history –as the board is looking at how to deal with $60,000 in staff funding cut to down $24,000.

Dawson Creek Public Library's Pamela Morris says the library board presented a budget to the City of Dawson Creek for 2019 that was already $50,000 less than expected.

“Another $59,400 was cut – so it is nearly a $110,000 difference we are looking at this year,” she says noting she understands where the city is coming from.

“I get the taxpayers don’t want to see an increase in taxes, but there will be impacts.”

Morris expects to cut senior staff by two, with the lowest on the union totem pole being cut.

“We may also lose a page, one of our 6 or 7 youth staff.” 

Morris says there will be other changes as well.

“Programming cuts may be noticed.”

She says one day will be lost if funding cuts remain.

“The big thing is playing off two people and closing on Sunday.”

Morris adds both the staff cuts are library technicians in training. 

“These are people skilled at Library Science”

Morris notes the computer budget has also been cut.

“If computers goes down, they will not be replaced.”

Morris says the public Internet has roughly 2,900 users a year, with more than 4,000 patrons of the Library itself.

“People working on immigration, employment, who have less access than others.”

Just down the street - the South Peace Historical Archives may be mothballed for real unless more funding is found. 

"$60,000 that was provisionally expected for five years was about to be cut to zero, but we presented our case and they will be providing $24,000 this year,” says South Peace Historical Archives archivist Denée Renouf, adding the board is looking at options for funding and operating.

“There is a chance no one will be here - the archives will not be open on a regular basis unless funding is found,” she says. 

One archives supporter said it was ridiculous for the city to take credit for providing rent for the South Peace Historical group. 

“They rent out of KPAC – the city is the landlord.”

Renouf said without full time staff, it is hard for the Archives to apply for summer students.

“There would be no supervision.”

Some think the city may not be thinking long-term when it comes to the South Peace Archives – which recently installed Treaty 8 artifacts.

“They won’t want to keep them in a closed building. Where do they go?”

Renouf noted the plan is if the Archives as a society dissolve, the City of Dawson Creek was to take possession of the physical documents of the archives. 

“The archives and all the documents become the city’s asset then anyway,” says Renouf, noting it appears the historical society could afford full time staff until the end of May.

Stewart Flinn with the archives said he would be blunt. 

"Without full time staff it is hard for us to apply for any other grants," he said. 

"There is a very strong possibility the archives will have to close. We may be S.O.L." 

editor@dcdn.ca 

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