Campbellton group gets half of requested funds

City councillors agreed to $1,260 to help keep the group’s office open

A grassroots community organization working to improve Campbellton was denied more than half of its funding request at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Jim DeHart and Brian Shaw, the co-chairs of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, wrote to council requesting $3,000 for annual office rent, community information mail-outs and community meeting and events space rental.

Coun. Ron Kerr attempted to have council issue the full amount, however, councillors agreed to $1,260 to help keep the group’s office open.

Coun. Ryan Mennie said he couldn’t accept the request because it’s the job of the city’s Community Partnership Committee to recommend community funding requests, as opposed to the group coming directly to council to appeal for funding.

“It’s tough and it’s a little bit confusing and I don’t see it as a fair request either when we get these requests outside the scope of the Community Partnership Committee,” Mennie said.

Coun. Mary Storry agreed that the funding for community meetings and events should go through the Community Partnership Committee but suggested it would be appropriate for council to chip in for the office rent.

“I certainly would not be opposed to sponsoring the office rent which is already subsidized by the bowling alley,” Storry said. “It’s sort of a partnership.”

Coun. Andy Adams made the motion to provide the $1,260 for the office space but encouraged the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association to in the future come forward with some of its own funding.

“I think this council and past council has been willing to help those who help themselves so if there was a way to identify what that was I’d certainly be more comfortable,” Adams said. “The Pier Street association is not a BIA (Business Improvement Association) but they come forward with 50/50 matching fund requests to us. I would like to see the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association move to that model.”

While council voted in favour of supplying the funding for annual office rent, councillors Mennie and Claire Moglove were opposed.

Moglove was hesitant because of a letter council received from 10 Campbellton businesses who feel they’ve been excluded from the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association.

“It’s a very small amount of money I realize, however, this letter demonstrates, in my view, that there is something lacking in the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association if 10 industrial commercial landowners feel they’re not being included in the process in any way, shape, or form,” Moglove said. “So until that happens, I don’t think the city should be in a position of funding an organization that’s not inclusive.”

The letter, signed by Ambleside Land Ltd., Central Island Investments, E&D Properties, Ry-Chris Holdings, DJB Investments, Bailey Western Star, G+L Bailey Holdings, 1700 Maple Ltd., Wacor Holdings, and Long Island Contracting, takes issue with the Campbellton group.

“To date there has been very little, if any, consultation or communication with many of Campbellton’s commercial landowners,” reads the letter. “There is concern the process lacks inclusiveness. While recognizing that the CNA (Campbellton Neighbourhood Association) is a grassroots organization, we feel any process that could affect land use, traffic patterns etc. should involve all stakeholders.”

Shaw, co-chair of the Neighbourhood Association, said the group has never intentionally excluded anyone.

“All CNA meetings have been well advertised and are open to everyone,” Shaw said. “Contact information is available on our website, Facebook, on the office door, and in all our correspondence.

“The association strongly encourages all interested parties to come out, voice their opinion and share the workload to create a vision for Campbellton going forward.”

Shaw noted the next general meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Eagles Hall and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.