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White Rock councillors rethink subsidies

Current White Rock Farmers
Current White Rock Farmers' Market manager Helen Fathers – a city councillor – and former market president Bruce Ketchum, in a promotional photo taken in 2006.
— image credit: File photo

White Rock staff may be taking another look at the city’s grants-in-aid policy, following a suggestion the current legislation is lacking.

Coun. Larry Robinson made a motion at last week’s governance and legislation committee meeting to suggest council refer the policy to staff to ensure it is consistent with the Community Charter.

The move followed a motion by Coun. Helen Fathers to amend the 11-year-old guidelines to remove certain points entirely and alter others. Among changes Fathers wants to see is a stipulation that White Rock organizations be given priority for the funds. She also wants a rule limiting grants to one per organization, to a maximum to $2,000.

Fathers’ own grants-in-aid application, submitted in her role as manager of the White Rock Farmers’ Market, was among those not supported by the city for 2012.

In discussing Fathers’ motion May 14, Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson said she felt the only fair way to determine which applicants are successful and how much money they should receive is to develop a standardized checklist.

Each applicant’s success would be determined by how many of the criteria they met, and the funds awarded would be calculated through a unit value for each of those criteria.

“It seems to me to be the only fair way to do it,” Anderson said. “Everybody will have the same opportunity to do what they wish to do with the money that’s been afforded.”

Asked by Coun. Al Campbell – who chairs the current grants-in-aid committee – if the committee is being properly handled, city manager Dan Bottrill responded that the Community Charter takes precedence over any city policy.

He noted there is “a misalignment” between the city’s current policy and Community Charter rules, and suggested having staff look at it could be the solution.

Robinson’s motion carried unanimously.

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