Opposition doesn’t block waiving of fees

Hospice granted use of Vernon Rec Centre, despite opposition

Local politicians weren’t worried about stepping on staff’s toes when it came to waiving facility fees for a fundraiser.

Regional District of North Okanagan directors decided Wednesday to let the North Okanagan Hospice Society use the Vernon Recreation Complex for free despite administration opposing the move.

“Everyone participating in it is doing it for free,” said director Patrick Nicol of Hospice’s Dancing with the Vernon Stars fundraiser Sept. 30.

Nicol added that the community has traditionally supported Hospice and its end-of-life programs.

“It’s something all of us in our families will have to use.”

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee recommended that RDNO waive the $938 fee to rent the recreation complex for the fourth annual event.

However, administrator Trafford Hall urged the board not to take such action because the district receives frequent requests from similar non-profit organizations.

“They are all worthwhile groups. Once you say yes to one group, how do you say no to another group?” he said.

Hall pointed out that there is an operational cost to running facilities and if the rent is waived, that cost is absorbed by taxpayers.

“The use of citizens’ funds for charitable causes has to be discussed,” he said.

Hall’s comments attracted a backlash from board members.

“That’s our problem on how we distinguish between one and another,” said director Doug Dirk of which groups receive assistance and which don’t.

Director Wayne Lippert indicated the board has dealt with similar requests before.

 

“Government does give out taxpayers’ dollars all of the time. It’s not something new,” he said.