Local charity left in limbo

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee turns down request from Upper Room Mission; defers to Regional District of North Okanagan board...

A group’s bid for funding is being tossed around.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has turned down the Upper Room Mission’s request for $9,200 and the matter has been referred to the Regional District of North Okanagan board. But the RDNO board decided in August not to discuss the request and it was sent to GVAC for further review.

“It’s didn’t belong here,” said director Bob Spiers of why GVAC opted not to get involved.

The Upper Room Mission wants the fee waived for a water main upgrade to its downtown Vernon facility, which provides meals and programs to people in need.

“It’s a worthwhile project but it doesn’t fit into parks and recreation or the water service,” administrator Trafford Hall said of GVAC’s mandate.

“We don’t have a function for charitable donations.”

The RDNO board will be asked to consider the request, but directors there have previously been opposed to providing community grants.

“We have the legal authority to give grants in aid but we need to have a budget,” said David Sewell, finance general manager, adding that member municipalities have not directed money to such a use.

The Upper Room Mission says the $9,200 fee should be waived because of limited financial resources.

“The mission provides support for individuals and families from all parts of the North Okanagan,” said Jake Spoor, URM chairperson.

“We survive on donations and the sale of donated items. We receive neither fixed funding nor are we requesting any from any level of government. I believe that in our 30 years of operation, we have never requested any grant from the district.”