Castlegar Council denies grants for first time under new policy

Castlegar Council denies grants for first time under new policy

Council to ask UBCM to change definition of a parcel in the Community Charter allowing for reduction of parcel tax on multiple parcels.

Castlegar Council denied two grant applications made under its new Grant Policy.

A request from the Castlegar Rebels Hockey Society for $5,000 to help with 2017-18 ice fees and a request from the Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society for $1,500 to help with hiring a GIS student to complete phase two of the Historic Doukhobor Waterline project were both denied because they didn’t meet the requirements of the city’s policy.

Before council voted, Coun. Arry Dhillon asked, “I’m just curious in what ways the Castlegar Rebels Hockey Society and the Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society … don’t meet requirements?”

Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff explained that both applications were denied because they were asking for funds for ongoing costs.

“What we’re really looking [for], if you guys remember, in that Grant Policy is project specific, not ongoing … operations and maintenance stuff that we shouldn’t be funding.”

Council did approve $400 for the Hepatitis C BC Education and Prevention Society to help with bringing the Hep C roadshow to Castlegar, $250 for the Turning Pointe Performance Society to help with the costs of hosting the annual youth spring repertoire at the Brilliant Cultural Centre, and $250 toward the Stanley Humphries Secondary School Dry Grad.

Council seeking to change definition of parcel in Community Charter

Council voted unanimously to forward a resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) asking that the definition of a parcel as defined in the Community Charter be changed so that parcel taxes can be applied in a way that’s fairer toward property owners.

The current definition requires that property owners be charged for each individual parcel when a parcel tax is applied, even if a home falls on more than one parcel. Castlegar council wants to see the definition in the Community Charter changed to match the one in the Assessment Act, which says that “if a building or other improvement extends over more than one parcel of land, those parcels, if contiguous, may be treated by the assessor as one parcel and assessed accordingly.”

Selkirk student union asks for support for Adult Basic Education

Representatives from the Selkirk College Student Union (SCSU) asked council to endorse a campaign to restore funding for Adult Basic Education (ABE).

The campaign is called Don’t Close the Doors and calls on the provincial government to restore funding for ABE and the tuition-free ABE mandate.

“In 2014, without warning or need, the provincial government announced that it would remove $6.9 million funding to ABE. This forced post-secondary institutions to start charging tuition on what is essentially high school education,” explained one of the representatives.

Coun. Bruno Tassone asked the SCSU representatives if the issue had been raised with the UBCM, and they said that it was on last year’s agenda, but was low on the agenda and didn’t end up being discussed.

Coun. Deb McIntosh said that she would bring forward a motion to support the campaign at the next council meeting.