The District of Port Hardy will once again be requesting a grant in aid from the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) for their multiplex project.
Back in May of last year, the RDMW denied a $60,000 grant in aid request from Port Hardy council, with RDMW Chair Andrew Hory stating he found the decision by the board to be “consistent with the history of that discussion — there has been very little support, if any, with individual board members to finding money in their own tax base to support the Port Hardy pool.”
At Port Hardy Council’s Jan. 23 meeting, a staff report from Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick regarding a re-application for a major grant in aid from the RDMW was included in the agenda.
The report stated that “the Regional District of Mount Waddington Board Grant in Aid policy allows for the District of Port Hardy to request a grant in aid for financial assistance for a project that will benefit the entire Mount Waddington region and will provide a service that is not currently met by existing services. The Major Grant in Aid can be reconsidered year to year upon request.”
The report also noted the financials involved. “The Regional District is limited by the Local Government Act with regards to the funding available. The amount a Regional District is authorized to include in their Financial Plan must not exceed the amount that is obtained by a tax of $0.10 per $1,000 on the net taxable value of land and improvements in the Regional District. In 2017 the maximum amount the Regional District of Mount Waddington was able to grant was approximately $119,000.”
McCarrick’s report recommended council “authorize staff to request a Major Grant in Aid for the Port Hardy Multiplex project from the Regional District of Mount Waddington in the amount of $55,000 for 2018 and that this grant be reconsidered year to year upon the request by the District of Port Hardy.”
“We are asking a large ask within the spectrum of the financial aid that they are able to give, but in speaking with their administrator, we can send a letter to their finance committee and they will bring it forward for discussion,” said McCarrick during the meeting.
“The reason this is on the agenda right now, is that Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt has been working on policies and procedures,” said Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood, who then asked Corbett-Labatt “to go over what changes were made to make this possible.”
“Last year when we bought forward the grant request, Allison (McCarrick) and Heather (Nelson-Smith) did an amazing presentation at the regional district – I thought it was amazing, I couldn’t believe it was turned down,” said Corbett-Labatt. “I was appointed to the policies and procedures committee, and one of the things I wanted to make sure was that the grant in aid policy was firmed up … basically, the major grant in aid has became much more structured in how people could apply for it, so with our indoor swimming pool complex, we now meet the six criteria that are there.”
The six criteria are as follows:
1. It can be demonstrated that the expenditure will provide benefit to the entire region;
2. The service fills a need that is not currently met by other existing services;
3. The recipient organization has demonstrable sound financial and administrative management;
4. It is for a non-profit locally based organization including local governments and First Nations;
5. The funding will not subsidize activities that are the responsibility of senior government organizations; and
6. The funding covers the cost of capital improvements or replacement.
Corbett-Labatt stated that when the policy and procedure change was approved at the regional district board, “one director brought up that there was other golf courses on the North Island, however, Seven Hills is the only golf course that is a par four, the others are par threes so it’s unique, Mount Cain is unique in that it’s the only ski hill — So it has to be something that is unique, and in my mind, an indoor swimming pool is very unique.”
Bood agreed, adding, “We need to be grateful to the policy committee for the work they’ve done, including Pat obviously, in making the policy clearer and making the pool project fit into that policy.”
Back in May, RDMW Vice Chair Shirley Ackland stated the reason Mount Cain and the Seven Hills Golf & Country Club receive a major grant in aid is “because they don’t have a tax base,” but now that the policy has changed, Ackland said it looks like the district “has their ducks all lined up,” for a chance at receiving the funding.
“We’re going to go through the process at the regional district, where everyone will have their input and we will make our case,” added Bood, “however, I will say that this time it should go more smoother because of the changes in policy, and as always with these things, every director at the table has an opinion and has a right to their opinion, it’s a democracy and we will see which side the votes will come out on.”