The City of Campbell River will give out more than half a million dollars in grant monies to local groups that provide benefits to the community.
At its Monday meeting, city council approved $591,411 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.
The amount represents an increase of $12,197 or 2.1 per cent over what was doled out in 2017.
Mark Coulter, interim finance operations supervisor, said that’s because the city’s Community Partnership Committee, which is tasked with reviewing the grant applications based on city policy, has recommended council put some dollars aside.
“The main difference in 2018 is an additional $20,000 requested for the Community Fund Reserve as the committee discussed the expectation that there would be additional requests for funding from existing grant applicants and new applicants going forward,” Coulter said.
Coulter said city staff are working with the Shoreline Arts Society, for example, on submitting an application for funding at a later date.
The society, which puts on the annual Transformations on the Shore carving contest, submitted an application for $5,000 but the committee recommended council deny the request at this point in time.
Coulter said the problem with the application was that it was not received by the deadline and it was incomplete.
“The application did not provide the required financial information, or insurance as stated on the application,” Coulter said. “Unaudited financial statements were not presented for 2015, 2016 or 2017 and as such, the committee is in the position to recommend not approving the application,” Coulter said. “There was significant discussion among the committee members due to the history and the impact that this event has on the community. Staff will continue to work with the applicant to put forward a complete application.”
Council, at its Monday meeting, officially directed staff to continue working with the society and encourage Shoreline Arts to reapply as Coun. Larry Samson said the event is important to the community.
“It is a valuable asset to our community, we have visitors from all over the world that step up and see that event, as well as the enjoyment (it provides) for the citizens of our community,” Samson said.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield, though, disagreed with forcing the society to apply again, suggesting city staff be given the authority to release the grant once Shoreline Arts provides the proper documents.
“I don’t think putting people through a bureaucratic shuffle again is the way to do this,” he said.
Coun. Michele Babchuk, who is council’s liaison to the Community Partnership Committee denied that’s what the city is doing.
“It’s about accountability and this is taxpayers’ money we’re putting out,” she said, noting that the grant-in-aids given out over the years is made up “three-fold” in economic opportunities.
In 2018, grants will go to: the Salmon Festival ($20,000); Volunteer Campbell River ($1,500); Citizens on Patrol ($4,000); Campbell River Search and Rescue ($9,500); Words on the Water Festival ($2,000); Campbell River Art Expo Society ($1,000); and the Shoreline Musical Theatre Society ($2,500).
The city is also continuing its previous policy and practice of providing three-year grants for core operating assistance to the Campbell River Art Gallery ($58,000), the Arts Council ($25,000), the Museum at Campbell River for Haig Brown House operations ($44,500) and for museum operations ($184,411) as well as the Tidemark Theatre Society ($175,000).
Coulter said those organizations receive grants annually as they have operating agreements with the city and are in city-owned buildings.
“These multi-year contracts allow these community groups, with permanent staff in place, to plan for the future,” Coulter said. “These contracts are extended on a year-to-year basis.”
A three-year grant is also going towards Greenways Land Trust ($24,000) as well as recreation and culture facility rentals ($20,000).
Those rental grants provide facility rental subsidies to approximately 20 community groups and cover 50 per cent of a group’s rental costs up to a maximum of $1,000.