The City of Vernon is prepared to discuss a donation regarding the Vernon Elks Monday, March 22, 2021. (Google Maps)

The City of Vernon is prepared to discuss a donation regarding the Vernon Elks Monday, March 22, 2021. (Google Maps)

City support may come for Vernon service club Monday

City staff recommend support for Elks Club in council agenda

City staff are recommending council approve a contribution to a Vernon service club so they may be considered for a once-in-100-years grant opportunity from the federal government.

The exact amount of said contribution, however, has yet to be determined.

In a final plea at the March 9 meeting, the Vernon Elks 45 asked the City of Vernon for a financial or in-kind donation so the club could finalize its application for the Legacy Fund Centennial Project from Heritage Canada in order to update the facility.’

The fund, valued at more than $98,000, would go towards replacing two 30-year-old furnaces, making bathrooms more accessible, adding an elevator and giving the club house a facelift with new paint and flooring.

City staff, however, pointed to council’s historic position to consolidate the block for future development as a conflict of interest.

Coun. Brian Quiring said that didn’t sit well with him.

“It looks a little bit like we’re forcing them out,” Quiring said. “They need us to get this grant and we’re not going to give them what they need because we want their property.

Quiring said a donation that would allow the group to fix up their space and make it more accessible wouldn’t inhibit the city’s chances of acquiring the building at a later date.

“As a gesture, it may be pretty nice to drift $500 to this group and let them have their furnaces fixed,” Quiring said.

Council inevitably decided they needed more information regarding the grant before they could decide anything.

The Legacy Fund requires applicants to “demonstrate tangible and meaningful support from the municipality.”

A letter of support from the mayor was provided in October, but that was deemed insufficient without any kind of monetary or in-kind donation.

While their initial application was denied, Heritage Canada granted the local club another opportunity to reach out.

With an investment from the City of Vernon March 22, the Elks may be successful in their grant application.

The matter comes before council this Monday.

READ MORE: Vernon service club’s final plea for city support unanswered for now

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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