The District of Port Hardy will be receiving a Major Grant in Aid from the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) for its potential multiplex project.
The district made a presentation to the RDMW board on Feb. 26 to request approval for a grant of $50,000, and it ended up being approved by the board.
Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick provided the Gazette with a press release regarding the specifics of the grant funding.
“The district explained the $50,000 would finance $1,000,000 of the debt that will be borrowed for the multiplex project,” said McCarrick’s statement. “The District of Port Hardy will request this grant annually until the debt is repaid. A RDMW board member or members will be invited to sit on the Port Hardy Parks and Recreation Committee to be involved with the multiplex project and ongoing programming when completed. The district is committed to this project and envisions it as a North Island facility and is very pleased the RDMW board has made this financial contribution and commitment.”
The district had previously requested a Major Grant in Aid for $60,000 back in May of last year, but the RDMW denied the request, with RDMW Chair Andrew Hory stating at the time 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.”
When asked what had changed between the 2017 grant request and the 2018 one, Hory stated the 2017 request was not a flat out rejection. “It included a specific motion passed by the RDMW board — to reconsider a funding contribution to the Port Hardy multiplex for the 2018 budget, as Port Hardy would not hear from senior government about pending grant applications until 2018.”
He also pointed out that after the 2017 request was denied, the RDMW policy committee reviewed the grant in aid policy and made updates and clarification recommendations to the board, which were adopted prior to the presentation to “ensure that everything was clear for the pending board discussion. In other words, a great deal was done between the two requests by both the RDMW and the District of Port Hardy to facilitate a clear discussion for the second round.”
Hory also noted he thinks “the function of regional local government worked very well,” adding, “Diverse opinions and considerations were presented at the meeting and after everyone had a chance to speak I called the question and the vote was in favour of granting the request for $50,000 worth of funding to the Port Hardy Multiplex. There was strong support by everyone for the project itself, and where there was disagreement around regional funding, I was very pleased to see a very respectful tone and clear honouring of the different commitments we each have in our respective communities. The tone helped a great deal to keep the discussion on track, as did the very low impact to residential taxation. On a personal level, I have always supported the pool, keeping the current one or building a new one, so I am hopeful that Port Hardy will soon hear positive news from Ottawa and Victoria. I am glad to see contribution from the RDMW to this project and think the way it has been realized, while having its difficult moments, is definitely the best way it could have happened. It is my hope that Port Hardy will also achieve Municipal Type Service Agreements with the local First Nations so that all levels of North Island government, and all surrounding communities, contribute to the cost of such an important asset.”
Keep following the North Island Gazette for more on the District of Port Hardy’s multiplex project in the new year.