Nelson city council faces tough decisions after more than 50 community groups and organizations made presentations for Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program funds at Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting.
“The city decides where funds are allocated,” said Mayor John Dooley. “In many cases groups also apply for partial support from regional directors as well.”
The City of Nelson has been allocated $130,000 from the Trust to distribute to the community.
But with so many groups applying with projects from the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skate Park Society to the Kootenay Swim Club, Dooley said dispersing the funds will be a challenge.
“There were lots of very worthwhile projects,” he said. “We have to look at what projects are going to benefit the greater good of the municipality. Projects that fit with plans the community and city have already developed like the Path to 2040 or the Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan would be looked upon favourably.”
Some of the organizations asking for larger sums of money include the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce who are looking for funds for their Regional Visitor Gateway and Business Opportunity Centre, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 51 who want to make renovations and the Nelson Regional Sports Council who are seeking for funds for the third phase of the Civic Arena upgrades.
Dooley said the money is also to benefit projects that are not typically funded by taxation.
“An example might be an improvement to a playground that is sponsored by a service club or say the farmers market or Artwalk,” he said.
After Tuesday’s presentations Dooley offered advice to groups applying for funding.
“I think going forward when groups are applying for funds to the municipality or to the regional district individual directors, they should actually look at their project and see if there is a broader impact than just that particular geographical area,” he said.
Regional district Area E has a total of $53,670.67 available, while Area F has $52,719.41.
“When you have groups that are coming forward and, as an example, the only area that have applied for funding from is the City of Nelson and yet in all their applications and information they are called the ‘West Kootenay whatever society,’” he said. “To me that says their catchment area is bigger than just the municipality. They could be missing out on funding opportunities by narrowing their focus to one area.”
Council will be making their decisions at the next council meeting on April 16.