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Keyano President “respectfully declines” theatre expansion grant

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Keyano President "respectfully declines" theatre expansion grant

Keyano President Tracy Edwards told council they're "respectfully declining" a $10 million capital grant for theatre expansion // Chris Vandenbreekel - Harvard Broadcasting

Council won’t be providing a $10 million capital grant to Keyano College for a theatre expansion.

A motion to cancel the grant was passed 10-1 by council on Tuesday night after College President Dr. Tracy Edwards told councillors they would decline the money anyways.

Edwards said that conditions placed on the grant, namely the creation of a governance committee that would provide input on theatre programming, wasn’t doable.

“Our assets at Keyano are owned by the province,” she said. “So we cannot cede governance to another body.”

Edwards said that when the college first agreed to the $10 million figure, they had believed it would merely be an advisory committee constructed of 20% RMWB, 20% Keyano, and 60% public members. They also had an understanding that the money could be used in the planning and design of a physical theatre expansion.

However, when they received their final proposal from council, the governance committee was the suggestion along with a stipulation that the money go directly towards construction.

“I’m going to make your job easy tonight,” she said of council’s debate over the subject of whether to cancel the grant. “And respectfully decline the funding.”

Councillor Allan Vinni contended that it wasn’t unreasonable to request a governance structure when giving a large amount of money to the program.

“I think if you had a private benefactor who donated $20 million,” he said. “I think they’d find a way to have a seat on your board of governors or your fundraising board.”

The councillor said the college has been falling short when it comes to public engagement as to the programming that’s desired for the theatre, and suggested the Edwards that talks should continue in regards to how to increase that engagement in the future.

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