News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg museums hope proposed budget cuts disappear

The cut may not be as deep, but museums are still hopeful the scissors will be put away completely at Tuesday’s special meeting of Winnipeg city council, where museum funding will likely cause heated debate.

The City’s preliminary 2013 operating budget, announced on Jan. 9, included a 10 per cent funding cut across the board to museums and other local arts and culture organizations, to the tune of $358,362.

This created a backlash, with supporters of museums attending city hall meetings in an effort to get the cuts reversed.

On Wednesday, members of Mayor Sam Katz’s executive policy committee voted to reinstate $56,147 in funding to museums, meaning instead of 10 per cent, the funding cut will now be five per cent.

“It still needs to go to council, so we’re encouraged by the direction EPC is going,” said William Dowie, chair of the Winnipeg Museums Board, which represents 14 museums, 12 of which were affected by the cuts.

“Having a diversity of museums is a boon to balancing the tourism industry in Winnipeg.”

Lisa Dziedzic, director of marketing and communications for the Manitoba Children’s Museum, said when it comes to budgets, “five per cent is still worse than zero per cent, but still better than 10 per cent.”

“We’re running our petition until the 29th (of January),” said Dziedzic, referring to the special meeting of city council where a final decision on the 2013 operating and capital budgets is expected.

Katz said he’s a fan and supporter of the Children’s Museum, however, “then you heard about their budget, you could see that the City of Winnipeg was giving more to the Manitoba Museum for Children than the Province was, so you know, you’ve got to balance all of these things.”

Dowie said in the event the five per cent funding cut sticks, he hopes some councillors might use part of the $40,000 increase to their representation allowance towards the museums that are seeing less of the funds they rely on.

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