Ladysmith town council approved 2022 Grant in Aid funds at its March 15 regular meeting. Councillors had a chance to discuss disbursement of the funds at a March 8 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting. Each person on the committee said how much they want to allocate for each group, out of the $63,670 budget. The median numbers were used to create the grant disbursement as follows:
-Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society — $1,000,
-Ladysmith and District Historical Society — $7,500,
-Ladysmith and District Marine Rescue Society $2,500,
-Ladysmith Celebrations society — $10,000,
-Ladysmith Downtown Business Association — $5,000
-Ladysmith Family and Friends — $2,500,
-Ladysmith Festival of lights — $15,000,
-Ladysmith Little Theatre — $2,500
-Ladysmith Maritime Society — $1,500,
-Ladysmith Show and Shine — $2,000,
-Nanaimo-Ladysmith School Foundation (bursary) — $1,500,
-Old English Car Club Central Island Branch — $600,
-Arts Council of Ladysmith and District — $5,000,
-Ladysmith Fire/Rescue Santa Parade — $1,500.
Coun. Duck Paterson recused himself from voting on funds for the Ladysmith Show and Shine, as he is involved with the organization.
There was $570 remaining after the committee went through this process. It agreed to add the leftovers to discretionary/late application funds.
“I don’t think there is anyone, if we added $500 to, is going to make a great difference in the list above,” said Coun. Marsh Stevens.
Council included $1,500 for waiving fees and $4,070 for late applications.
Paterson opened the conversation around the funds at the COW meeting with a suggestion council discuss the process for allocating Grant in Aid funds.
At the end of the discussion, Mayor Aaron Stone made a motion to include a conversation about Grant in Aid policy in the next COW agenda.
“When we start to look at our Grant in Aid applications, they are very operational in nature — which is unusual but I think it’s important that we remember what the purpose of Grant in Aid is,” Stone said. “This isn’t to provide ongoing funding to the operations of different organizations, but [to] help support initiative that strengthen the community and help it in different times of need.”
Coun. Tricia McKay said she took a conservative approach to her suggested contributions because she believes the next year will be challenging financially.
“All the things that are going on in the world on the tail of COVID and in our COVID recovery is putting, and is going to increasingly put, a strain financially on everyone in the community and including us,” she said.”[It’s] not the way I wanted to spend the last year in council for sure but I think we need to be keeping something for a rainy day right now. I think we are going to have some big storms.”
Council also voted to include $50,000 in the 2022–2026 Financial Plan to contract with Social Planning Cowichan for the Poverty Reduction Task Force project, subjuect to grant funding.