Ladysmith council has $100,000 to spend on grants-in-aid

Community groups have requested more than $187,000 in grants, and council must decide which projects to assist.

Ladysmith council is on the verge of finalizing its grant-in-aid outgoings to local not-for-profit organizations.

This year, council has a budget of $100,000 for grant-in-aids, which is lower than last, and has already received grant requests of up to $187,457 in total.

At the March 3 regular council meeting at City Hall, the mayor and council went through a first round of what they believed to be reasonable grant allocation.

“The funding comes from taxpayers,” said council’s director of finance Erin Anderson at the meeting. “The purpose is to assist projects through financial assistance.”

The deadline for grant-in-aid applications was Feb. 28.

Thus far, council has tabled more than $70,000 of its budget, including $12,000 set to go to the Festival of Lights Society and $5,000 to the Ladysmith and District Marine Search and Rescue Society. Both of those organizations are set to receive the maximum they requested.

Coun. Steve Arnett made a motion at the meeting to pull four separate applications from the Ladysmith Resources Centre from the discussion, totalling $46,500, due to the fact those submissions from the same organization would take up such a large percentage of the budget, if all granted.

As a result, Arnett felt as though a more detailed discussion on the Resources Centre’s requests should be its own individual item at the next meeting.

Also postponed from discussion this time around was a request of $24,207 from the Ladysmith Food Bank, which Coun. Gord Horth says is a “great organization but not local government’s responsibility. We need to make cuts, and Area G (Saltair/Gulf Islands) and Area H (North Oyster/Diamond) of the CVRD need to start stepping up.”

One of the new applications to council this year was a request of $1,500 from Ladysmith Primary School’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC) to go towards a hot lunch program, but that bid seems set to fail, with the majority of councillors voting for zero funds to be sent to the PAC.

“I believe the School District, who provide education, should start stepping up if the kids are hungry so it’s easier for them to learn,” said Coun. Duck Paterson.

Like Paterson, Mayor Rob Hutchins and Horth also signalled intent not to send any money LPS’ way.

Councillors Bill Drysdale and Jill Dashwood didn’t agree but look set to be outvoted.

“I would’ve supported $1,000. If families are supported with food, then the children are able to learn better,” said Dashwood.

“It should be funded by the parents,” said Drysdale. “But I was willing to recognize that funding and provide $500.”

Drysdale was also all for sending as much money to the Marine Search and Rescue as possible, despite much deliberation around the council table.

“They are one of the busiest marine search and rescue stations on the Island, so I think we should try and help them out,” he said.

Arnett agreed.

“They go out under any conditions and put their lives at risk. The level of professionalism there is extraordinary.”

On the same night, council set the trolley rental donation at $3,000, with rental pricing being $100 an hour and $75 an hour for non-profit organizations.