City doles out half a million to community groups

City council will give out more than half a million dollars in grant monies to community groups

City council will give out more than half a million dollars in grant monies to community groups.

At last week’s Monday meeting, council approved $578,214 worth of grants-in-aid – city money dedicated to strengthening the community’s arts and culture groups, as well as key community events and functions.

One-time grants for 2017 events were awarded to the Salmon Festival ($25,000) in order to fund TSN crews to film the logger sports competition which is celebrating 50 years in 2017; the Shoreline Arts Society ($5,000) for the annual carving competition; Volunteer Campbell River ($1,500) to provide an indoor venue for the annual Volunteer Fair; Tidemark Theatre Society ($16,000) for a 30th anniversary celebration; as well as the Writer’s Festival Society ($2,000) to host the annual Words on the Water.

Single grants for 2017 were also given to Citizens on Patrol ($3,000) and Campbell River Volunteer Search and Rescue Society ($9,500).

Not all community groups got what they were asking for, however. On a recommendation from the city’s Community Partnership Committee – which is tasked with reviewing grant-in-aid applications based on council policy – council denied two requests.

One of those was from the Discovery Passage Sealife Society, which runs the aquarium, for a $12,040 grant because the society did not demonstrate that it had sought other funding sources before applying for the grant-in-aid. In addition, the city was being asked to fund 100 per cent of the cost to upgrade the aquarium’s pumping and water supply systems and, as per city policy, applicants are expected to have more than 50 per cent of the required funding come from other sources.

Also denied were the Campbell River Air Cadets, for a $1,000 grant, because it is already set to receive a $5,200 permissive tax exemption on its property taxes and organizations are not permitted to receive both. The committee also felt that the Air Cadets do not meet the criteria of being an arts and/or cultural organization and, though federal funding received from the Department of National Defence has been eroded over the past few years, grants-in-aid are not designed to replace funding which may have been eliminated from other levels of government.

Council did, however, dole out several other grants, including three-year grants to organizations that have operating agreements with the city, and operate within city-owned buildings.

“These multi-year contracts (currently set at three years) allow these community groups, with permanent staff in place, to plan for the future,” said Dennis Brodie, the city’s finance operations supervisor.

Council approved multi-year grants to: the Art Gallery ($56,500) for outreach programs at community events; the Arts Council ($25,000) for succession planning, increased programming and additional Canada 150 banners; the Museum at Campbell River and Archives Haig Brown House Operations ($44,500); the Museum at Campbell River ($179,214) for operations; and the Tidemark Theatre Society ($175,000) for operations.

Council also approved a $15,000 grant for facility rental subsidies that go to roughly 20 community groups. Under that program, 50 per cent of a group’s rental costs are covered up to a maximum of $1,000.

Additionally, council granted Greenways Land Trust with a $21,000, three-year grant in order to support a volunteer coordinator position, provide additional bookkeeper and office space, and provide expanded service and programs in the community.

Brodie said that overall, the amount of grants approved was down by $19,040 over 2016.

But, he said, that’s mainly because no additional money had to be put into the city’s Community Fund reserve this year in order to deal with any unanticipated grants that may come about in 2017.