Council approves spring community grants

Canada Day celebrations were one of four grant requests presented to Council Tuesday night.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Council awarded $5,325 in Community Grants at their June 12 meeting, a sum that was $2,535 less than the $7,860 the four applicants were looking for. Council heard the requests from The Morinville Lions Club, Morinville Historical and Cultural Society, Morinville Community High School Wolves, and the Sour Pusses charity softball tournament.

Council approved the full $1,325 requested by the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society to help them put on their 2nd Annual Morinville Canada Day celebrations.

Society spokesperson Murray Knight told Council the annual event was put on by volunteers, the youngest of whom was 46, the oldest 82. In addition to planning and running the Canada Day activities, Knight said they want to put small flags on resident properties again this year. Last year residents awoke to find some 1,700 flags throughout town. Knight said they hoped to blanket the entire town this year, but the little flags are hard to come by due to the Queen’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

One Councillor, Gordon Boddez, promoted the idea of funding the event every year with a perpetual grant. “We need a Canada Day celebrations,” Boddez said. “The amount of volunteer work being done is considerable. We do not want to lose this celebration.”

Another group who received full funding was the Sour Pusses slow pitch tournament, a fundraiser for the Stollery Children’s Hospital that brought approximately 500 baseball players to town over the June 8 weekend. The group asked for and received a $2,500 grant. The event hoped to raise approximately $4,000 for the children’s hospital.

Mayor Bertschi took issue with what he saw as the Town indirectly donating to the Stollery. “That speaks to my issue with these,” Bertschi said of granting fundraising events, adding he understands the tournament draws a lot of players to the community. “All the money they raise is going to be donated to the Stollery. They’re going to be donate $4,000 to the Stollery. We’re making the donation to Stollery. That’s my issue with these ones that keep coming back to us. The local groups in this community are not benefitting from it.”

Bertschi, who was opposed to funding the Sturgeon County Mayor’s Golf Tournament for similar reasons, reiterated his stance the Town would be better to donate to the end causes directly.

Despite his opposition, the $2,500 grant request was passed with a 5-1 vote of Council, Mayor Bertschi casting the only opposing vote.

But not all groups got what they were asking for.

The Morinville’s Wolves request for $2,500 to help with travel expenses for an upcoming basketball team camp was whittled down to $1,500 and unanimously passed.

The Lions Club’s request for $1,535.64 for beautifications to Lions Park was first whittled down to $1,100 and then tabled until a future intake. The delay was due to the club’s plans to do some upgrades to the skirting around the teen centre, a facility whose future use and location is under review.

The Community Grant Program has a budget of 27,500 in 2012, money to be spread over four quarters. With the June 12 approvals, $10,350 of that fund has been committed.