White Rock senior leaves $60,000 to Kent Street Activity Centre

Stanley Katsumi Sugita, who died in November 2008, was an artist and member of the activity centre.

The wish of a White Rock senior to see kitchen facilities at the Kent Street Activity Centre improved is a step closer to reality, with receipt of a generous bequest from his estate.

Acting city manager Sandra Kurylo told council last week that a $59,074.40 cheque from the assets of Stanley Katsumi Sugita arrived Jan. 3 – nearly three years after the city first received word it was a beneficiary.

“The money has been received,” Kurylo announced.

Sugita, who died in November 2008, was an artist and member of the activity centre. A staff report notes he provided paintings for a silent auction to raise funds for the centre’s passenger bus, and was particularly interested in cooking.

He was also a regular contributor to Peninsula Arts Foundation’s annual wine-tasting fundraiser.

Sugita’s will specifies the bequest be used “solely for the benefit and improvement of the Kent Street Activity Centre… and the support of programs and services offered at the centre,” the report notes.

Describing Sugita as “a good friend,” Coun. Louise Hutchinson questioned if members of the activity centre’s fundraising arm will have input into how the money is spent. Kurylo gave assurances the group would “absolutely” be involved.

Noting Sugita had a passion for food, Hutchinson said he “would be thrilled to think that the kitchen had been upgraded.”

Kent Street kitchen supervisor Pat Faulkner said fundraising for a new dishwasher, freezer and expansion of the kitchen facility has been underway for two years. Sugita’s bequest would boost the total collected to about $130,000, she said.

“He, for about 3½ years, just took every class I offered,” Faulkner said. “He would love… to think that (his gift) went to something concrete.”

Until a decision is made – city officials were to meet with Kent Street members Friday – the funds have been placed in a reserve account.