Policy to change around city grants-in-aid

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
November 26th, 2016

Change is in the air for Castlegar’s grant-in-aid policy after city council’s regular meeting Monday night.

Finance chair and councillor Dan Rye brought forward a report suggesting that grants no longer be provided to people/groups/organizations travelling outside of the city for events such as sporting tournaments.

“The underlying rationale is to support activities that bring people and teams and activities to Castlegar,” the report read. “Further, that in doing so, there is a spillover to the businesses in town from increased activity and people in town. “

Rye said he felt it was a difficult, but necessary change.

“Quite often, there’s just too much money going out of Castlegar and not being spent in Castlegar,” Rye said. “We’ve discussed this now for three or four years. We didn’t make this decision lightly. I think we should be spending Castlegar taxpayers’ money in Castlegar.”

While the suggestion was met with approval by most at the table, Councillor Bruno Tassone said he would not vote in favour.

“I, personally, don’t like this. I like what we have now,” he said. “The people that are going away from town are representing the City of Castlegar. I’m not going to vote for this.”

Tassone later added, “There are a lot of kids who can’t afford to play minor hockey. This funding is important, not only just for hockey, but for basketball and soccer and so on.”

Councillor Florio Vassilakakis pointed out that local sporting organizations could apply for grants to host Castlegar-based fundraisers here in the city, to raise money to attend out-of-town tournaments and events.

Another suggestion, this one offered by councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, was to only allow organizations to apply every other year – a suggestion Vassilakakis supported.

“We see the same people applying for the grants-in-aid – it actually forms part of their budget. That’s not really a grant,” he said, adding restricting applications to every other year would also open the door to new and different groups and organizations while stretching the limited pool of money council has to work with.

Tassone also indicated that two intake days were insufficient time to accommodate the schedules of the many volunteers trying to access the funding, and councillor Deb McIntosh concurred.

“I agree with the three days a year to ask for money,” she said, adding she supports the move to limit grant applications to in-town endeavours. “We struggled with this police for a number of years, because there is no just and fair way of doing it. It’s a very hard policy to change, because it does impact a portion of the people we represent, no matter what we do.”

Ultimately, council elected to send the report back to the finance committee to implement the several suggestions offered at the meeting, with a revised version coming back for council’s consideration at a later date.




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