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Directors approve Canada Day request

Vernon’s 2014 Canada Day celebrations are getting a financial boost from the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Directors decided, but not without debate, to a $2,000 request from the Canada Day committee.

Canada Day was fully supported by late RDNO chairperson and longtime City of Vernon councillor Patrick Nicol, who died in January.

Director Catherine Lord of the City of Vernon said Nicol was “the driving force behind Canada Day festivities, and also put his own money into it.”

“The committee is scrambling because they haven’t had time to put things together and raise funds to put it on properly the way it’s been put on in the past,” said Lord, adding that all the events at Polson Park are free for families.

The funding request is for this year only, a transition year for the committee as they deal with the death of Nicol and look for partners and sponsors for the 2015 event.

Coldstream director Doug Dirk moved that the $2,000 request be granted with the money coming from the RDNO chairperson’s discretionary fund.

RDNO finance general manager David Sewell explained that discretionary funds are typically intended for one-time or transitional funding rather than ongoing.

What led to some discussion was Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton’s questioning why a motion was needed at all.

He urged the board to use caution.

“If it’s a one-time deal, there’s no need for a motion,” said Acton. “We’re giving direction.

“The whole idea of setting up a chair’s discretionary fund is so he (acting chairperson Rick Fairbairn) doesn’t have to come to the board to ask for money. If we direct him to spend it, then he doesn’t have any money to do his discretionary duties. I just want to be clear what we’re doing here.”

Acton’s concern is that a motion could result in other communities approaching the board for similar funding requests from the same fund.

Enderby Mayor Howie Cyr said the discretionary funds are a benefit, and “I wouldn’t support the other side, the RDNO providing the grant. It would be setting a precedent that’s not good.”

Said Acton: “We’re not giving the chair the discretion. We’re telling him to do it and using his discretionary fund to do it. That’s fine if he wants to do it, but it shouldn’t be a vote. He should just do it.

“Next year we could force him to spend the whole $5,000 and he’s got nothing to be discretionary with. Kind of takes away the whole point of having that discretionary fund.”

The question on the motion was called and everybody voted in favour of the $2,000 request from the discretionary fund except for Acton.

 

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