One of the community grant requests is for a museum Family Days program. Record file photo

One of the community grant requests is for a museum Family Days program. Record file photo

Cumberland council is split over community grants

For now, council sticks to 70 per cent funding formula but will review wording

Cumberland council members split over how best to hand out money from its community grant program.

Faced with a dilemma, some felt they should simply respond to the groups that submitted, while others felt they should continue the practice of providing 70 per cent of the requests from the $10,000 program. This would keep some in reserve for late requests or to help programs without formal boards to make requests, such as the Comox Valley Broombusters program.

A catalyst this year was that the three requests exceeded the amount available by $2,000: Care-A-Van for a promotional teaching monthly pop-ups program for $7,000; the historical society’s seed funding of $2,000 for the museum’s monthly Family Days; and the Weird Church one-time Truth and Reconciliation discussion forum request for $3,000.

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If council stuck with the 70 per cent formula, it would equal $8,400, meaning there would be $1,600 left in the community grant budget.

Coun. Vickey Brown disagreed, saying council, on the one hand, asks community groups to apply for the program yet does not spend all the money available.

“I feel like that’s disingenuous,” she said.

Others, like Coun. Jesse Ketler, felt they will likely have more requests and should “leave some in the kitty,” while Coun. Sean Sullivan described the program as very generous and disagreed with the notion the village was being disingenuous.

Brown made a motion that council allocate minimum request amounts of $6,000 for the Care-A-Van project and $2,500 for the Weird Church project, while providing 70 per cent of the museum request for $1,400. However, only Brown and Coun. Gwyn Sproule voted in favour.

Ketler then made a motion to provide the 70 per cent amounts for the three requests, which passed with her, Sullivan and Mayor Leslie Baird voting in favour.

Brown made a subsequent motion for the village to look at the wording of the policy concerning the amounts to be given, which all on council supported.

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As well, council approved a request for an extension to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76 for its 2021 project to research the number of homeless or near-homeless veterans in the Cumberland, Comox Valley and Oceanside regions, which has been delayed due to a number of factors. In February 2021, council supported a request to support the project through the community grant program.

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