There is a concern that reduced city funding is leading to other agencies not supporting O'Keefe Ranch.

There is a concern that reduced city funding is leading to other agencies not supporting O'Keefe Ranch.

City decision threatens funding at O’Keefe Ranch

Historic site says other agencies are reconsidering funding after Vernon council decided to reduce its annual commitment

City cuts aren’t the only financial squeeze facing a historic site.

O’Keefe Ranch says other agencies are reconsidering  funding after Vernon council decided to reduce its annual commitment starting in 2016.

“If a partner in the community is pulling out, they are looking at their participation,” said Glen Taylor, general manager.

A Heritage Legacy Fund grant for restoration of St. Anne’s Church was recently denied.

“They said no because the city is backing its funding down,” said Taylor.

“It’s funding we were depending on.”

Council voted recently to continue with a $150,000 annual grant for the  city-owned property. But in 2016, that will drop to $100,000, followed by $50,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe is concerned the city’s actions are having a snowball effect on funding.

“Some of the broader impacts of our decision aren’t known,” she said.

“Because of our decision that we will cease funding, those (outside) agencies are questioning their funding.”

Council has instructed staff to determine the extent of the impact on the ranch’s budget if other organizations restrict grant levels.

Opposition to a staff report came from Councillors Bob Spiers and Brian Quiring.

“That information should come from O’Keefe Ranch. It’s not the city’s place to generate another report,” said Quiring, who questions suggestions that agencies are basing funding on what the city does.

“I’d like to see evident that this is the case. It (2016) is along ways off.”

A similar view is also coming from Spiers.

“I don’t know how that affects a grant being done now,” he said.

Taylor insists the ranch is working on plans to attract more visitors and enhance the bottom line.

“We have three years to show we can increase activity and we will show the city the ranch is providing an important service,” he said of preserving the region’s heritage and bolstering the economy.