What happens to other perfectly good causes?

Dear editor,
I read with interest the article regarding the $3.1-million sports centre looking for $50,000 a year to help it operate.
It is great that the centre is nearly built and will soon be ready for the public to use. I love to ski and am up at Mount Washington a lot enjoying the trails.

Dear editor,I read with interest the article regarding the $3.1-million sports centre looking for $50,000 a year to help it operate.It is great that the centre is nearly built and will soon be ready for the public to use. I love to ski and am up at Mount Washington a lot enjoying the trails.I am also involved with some non-profit groups in the Comox Valley, including the board of the Merville Community Association, which operates the Merville Hall. The Merville Hall isn’t fancy or top of the line but it has served the Comox Valley since the 1930s. It hosts the Scouts, fiddle dances, craft fairs, dog clubs, family receptions and fundraisers.But, the Old Gal is showing her age. The hall needs a new kitchen floor and cabinets to bring it to Food Safe standard. It needs completely new, wheelchair-accessible washrooms.Last year, we had a paintathon and got the first coat of yellow and white paint on the exterior. It is now like a bright yellow sun as you drive by in the morning, though we still have to get on a second coat of paint.The entrance needs work, the floor needs refinishing, the stage needs lighting and the 20-year-old furnace is gasping its last breath. All this takes money.The hall really needs the $7,000 or $8,000 that it receives as a grant-in-aid from the regional district to pay for the $8000 annual insurance bill. It limps along on rentals throughout the year but any renovations have to be paid for from rental income. Then there are the hydro, gas, water and garbage pickup bills.If the new $3.1-million sport centre is successful in lobbying the regional district for a $50,000 annual subsidy, and the rest of us are told that there are only limited funds to go around, does this mean the Merville Hall will lose a portion of its grant?Will Grantham Hall and Halbe Hall be similarly dinged? Will other community organizations also feel the pinch?I wonder about a $3.1-million business applying for another $50 grand-a-year subsidy to help it operate. Had the centre’s budget been pruned by, say, $250,000, then there might have been enough left for it to operate for the first five years without a handout.This “legacy” from the Olympics looks like it will be a bit of a continual drain on the taxpayer. Though the centre is supposed to be for everyone to enjoy, I hope that its success won’t be at the expense of the other community facilities in the valley.Once again, the MCA is applying for a grant-in-aid. We also appeal to anyone out there who would like to give us a hand with the renovations.And then there is the little brown church that we would like to move onto the grounds. So much to do, so little time and even less money.Craig Freeman,Courtenay

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