Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Council approves City Staff recommendations for Community Enhancement Grants with one addition to the list

The distribution of Community Enhancement Grants was one of the topics
 of the night for City Council's Monday session

The always challenging balancing act of deciding which community groups receive what amount of money through the Community Enhancement Grant process came to an end on Monday, as City Council members accepted a report from the City's Financial Officer, laying out the funding distribution plan for 2020.

As we outlined on Monday morning, this years funding will bring a five percent increase towards those groups, with some of the larger grant recipients receiving the bulk of the additional cash.

Prior to the vote to accept the recommendations from City staff, Council heard of some of the factors that have played a role in the delivery of this years funding, with the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben making note of the challenges of measuring the city's infrastructure needs and other operating requirements with Council's desire to provide for funding for community organizations.

"Our community is just emerging from a significant local recession which has put us in a position to fix much of the critical pieces of our house all at once. We are also in a time period where new industries are beginning to open. This is enabling us to address many of the capital needs but has also provided Finance the opportunity to recommend to Council an overall increase  in total Grant funding of five percent compared to  prior year funding.-- Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben

Ms. Bomben also noted that at this time, it's not expected that a tax increase will be required to provide for the increase of the tax funding.

As for the financial distribution, among those gaining a significant increase for 2020.

Museum of Northern British Columbia an increase of $20,000 from last year, to $163,000 for 2020.

Prince Rupert Performing Arts Centre an increase of $15,000 from last year, to $140,000 for the year ahead.

The Prince Rupert Racquet's Association, SPCA and Prince Rupert Golf Society were all provided with slightly more, or the same level of funding as that which they received in 2019.

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Prince Rupert Special Events will receive an additional 13,000 dollars in operating funding from last year, sitting at 30,000 dollars, though it was still somewhat short of their original request of 35,000 dollars.

Both the Prince Rupert Library and the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council will see increases of 9,000 dollars from their 2019 levels.

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Only one of the seven new applicants for funding in 2019 found success on Monday night, with City Council members noting how the one time request for funding of 5,000 dollars from the Prince Rupert Hospice Society found favour as it provides for equipment for an organization which provides a service for the community as a whole.

Councillor Cunningham led off the discussion related to the Hospice Society request, noting how in a workshop on the grants, Council had indicated it's previous support for their initiative.

Council then moved forward to approve the request by amendment, voting to provide for one time funding of 5,000 dollars for equipment.

In his comments to the theme, Councillor Niesh observed as to how as part of their workshop discussions on Community grants, that they noted that they were not in a position to approve new grant applications this year.

But adding that the nature of the Hospice Society is supportive of the whole community and it was a good recommendation to offer support to them.

"The one thing that we had talked about, was that  ... no new applications were really something that we just were not able to afford, but I think that we were all kind of the same in believing that Hospice, is a group, that even though a new group, is a group that is supportive of the whole community and not just one part of the community"-- Councillor Wade Niesh

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As for the Filipino Canadian Association,  Prince Rupert Amateur Swim Club,  Change Makers Society, North Coast Ecology Centre Society,  Prince Rupert Curling Club and a capital request from the Prince Rupert Racquet Centre, the 2020 application process would be a disappointing one, as their requests were not approved for this years funding regimen.

While Council members did provide for the helpful guidance on how the Hospice Society request was granted, they did not offer up any  further thoughts towards how they go about with their decision making.

Something that could leave residents to wonder how the Curling Club for instance does not qualify for any funding assistance, while the Golf Course does; or why AFFNO can find success, while the Filipino Association is denied its request.

Members did note that they are hopeful of changing the Grant Funding process in 2020, and as they prepare to move forward with that initiative they will hopefully provide for a more fulsome explanation as to how they make their decisions when it comes to allocating the 1,340,000 dollars that they have made available for 2020.

The full presentation from Ms. Bomben and the subsequent discussion on the Community Enhancement Grant process can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive, starting at the 41 minute mark.

The CFO's full report for Council can be reviewed from the City's Agenda package for Monday night starting on page 18.

For more items of note related to Monday's Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.

A wider overview of City Council discussion themes can be found from our Council Archive page here.


  1. I think it is terrible the city finds money to raise wages and cannot find monies for charitable groups.

    The money the city is realizing from Watson Island is being borrowed against rather than putting into tax base.

    No one knows what contracts the city is letting on Watson Island. A little transparency would be nice. Oh I forgot all takes place behind closed doors. The mayors got your back! ha

  2. Not sure of the specifics you mention related to Watson Island, but you are correct in one area for sure, the need for more transparency on a number of files, such as Watson Island, Legacy Fund and large scale infrastructure would be a welcome theme from Council