Council approves another round of Community Grants

Sturgeon Victim Services was one of eight groups to receive funding June 25, monies that will be allocated through the Town’s Community Grant Program, FCSS Grant Program and general Town sponsorship. – Morinville News File Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The gallery of Council Chambers were a little fuller than usual June 25 as eight applicants came forward to make their case for grant funding. Council heard from six Community Grant and two Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Grant applicants. The eight requests amounted to $21,587.68 in requests. Requests ranged from $500 to $6,000.

The Town of Morinville allocates $27,500 each year for its Community Grant program, $5,500 per quarter. First quarter approvals exceeded the quarterly allotment by $1,675. The requests presented June 25 amounted to $11,420, more than double the quarterly allotment.

The Town’s FCSS Grant program allows $24,000 annually, divided into two intakes of $12,000 each. The two second-half requests totalled $10,167,68. No requests were received in the first intake of requests for 2013.

Support for local athlete

Council approved a $500 request from Alberta Summer Games double gold-medal recipient Kassandra Reaume to help the 13-year-old Georges H. Primeau student become a roster member of the U21 Women’s National Canoe Polo squad. The funding is to help with travel costs to a national event in Welland, Ontario where she can work at the national level, receiving coaching from international experts.

Seniors given travel funding

Morinville Day Support-AHS was back in Council Chambers seeking $1,250 to help fund various trips and outings for local seniors, funding the group now needs to access through grants after changes to FCSS funding has affected transportation coverage. The $1,250 would cover the rental costs of Morinville’s Community Bus for five rentals throughout the year, something they were previously ineligible for due to not being a not-for-profit organization.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein took issue with the request being submitted under the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society’s name as the Town’s grant policy allows for one funding request per calendar year. Boutestein said she did not want to see the request come back a third time and moved to provide the funding as a sponsorship rather than a grant.

Council voted unanimously in favour of providing the $1,250 as a one-time sponsorship rather than a grant. It is believed the funding will help reduce the barriers of isolation seniors often feel. Each of the five trips would include 10 to 15 seniors as well as 10 volunteers and two staff members.

Memorial run receives partial support

Council support was mixed for a $2,230 request from the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation to help fund their first Jessica Martel Memorial Run/Walk, which took place during St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2013 June 23. Councillor Nicole Boutestein moved to provide the organization with $1,500, after an amendment from Councillor David Pattison. The motion passed unanimously.

The event, anticipated to draw 100 runners and walkers, actually drew in excess of 200 participants. Almost $20,000 was raised from the event, monies that will be used by the foundation to continue their work helping victims of domestic violence and raising awareness of the subject.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein took issue with the fact the request was higher than the initial request of $930, and the fact the event raised close to $20,000. Boutestein said sitting behind Council’s table it was about dollars and cents and not the value the organization brings to the community.

Board member Rebecca Holland said the expenses became higher as the number of participants grew. “I see it as a donation and not money that we made as an organization,” Holland said, adding the organization made $18,000 for the cause in the first four years. “This race, this run was about education as much as it was raising funds. I think it speaks to a much bigger issue.”

She thanked Council for the support of the organization.

Wolves get funding

The Morinville Wolves were granted $2,500 June 25 to send the team to the Gonzaga University Tournament in Spokane, Washington this summer. The team had been previously funded to attend the event in 2011 and 2012. The annual tournament will draw 90 teams this year, including 18 Morinville youth and six adult volunteers.

Coach Serge Froment said 15-passenger vans were not available for rental. Instead they will pay $560 per week for each of the three passenger vans they will use. Because he is not a teacher; the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools bus is not available for the trip.

Council voted unanimously in favour of the funding.

Council gives OK to O Canada

A $2,500 request from the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society to help put on their annual Canada Day in the Park event was found to be not eligible because the society had previously succeeded in a grant request this year. Policy allows groups to apply only once each year and the society had asked for funding for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein said she was sorry to have to stick to Town policy. “What kind of councillors would we be if we don’t follow our own policies,” Boutestein said, adding the $2,500 should be given, but it should be given as a sponsorship.

The society was also granted an additional request of $1,190 sponsorship earlier in the evening to cover a shortfall in the cost of fireworks, something added to the Canada Day celebrations for the first time this year. The motion by Councillor Gordon Boddez to add the Community Grant request of $2,500 to the previous sponsorship was approved unanimously.

The annual event, now in its third year, centres on a traditional old-fashioned picnic in the park, children’s activities, music and the raising of the flag in ceremonial fashion. Four hundred people are anticipated to take part in this year’s event.

Soccer funding kicked around

The Morinville Soccer Association’s request for $2,440 to cover transportation and accommodations at an upcoming provincial event was approved with a unanimous vote of Council.

The association’s U18 players have qualified for provincial competition in the Alberta Soccer Association Tier U18 Community Provincials this summer. The funding will assist with sending 16 players and two coaches to the event.

Funding recruits

Sturgeon Victim Services’ request for $4,167.68 in FCSS Grant funding to pay for a volunteer recruitment program that includes training and give-away promotional items to increase awareness of what the organization does was approved with a unanimous vote of Council.

The organization provides support to victims of crime and tragedy and works hand-in-hand with the RCMP. The group is in need of more volunteers; both advocate volunteers who work with victims, and board members to run the organization. It is believed the recruitment drive will increase the number of volunteers able to do the work.

Program Coordinator Donna McPherson said the promotional items (mints and lip balm), estimated to cost $1,100, would be tracked to see how many result in additional volunteers coming forward to assist the organization in its work.

She said Morinville is the largest community in the area they cover. As such, the group is focusing its recruitment efforts mainly in Morinville.

The Town funding will also help pay for a volunteer appreciation barbecue, reward for the hard work the current volunteers provide the organization. Additionally, the funding will pay for a board-training workshop.

The organization has hired a marketing person to help with recruitment.

During the discussion, Councillor Nicole Boutestein said the Town needs to look at its policies on grants because too often the decisions are made in contradiction to what the policies say they cannot do.

Rendez-Vous reaches out with outreach

Council unanimously approved a $6,000 FCSS Grant request from the Morinville Rendez-Vous Centre to start a pilot project to address the needs of the community’s isolated seniors by encouraging them to participate in the centre’s activities. Two thirds of the amount will be used to hire a part-time outreach worker for 14 hours a week on a four-month contract beginning in September.

Additionally, the funding will go towards a pilot taxi voucher system to help seniors break free of isolation. The group is looking to use $2,000 of the $6,000 to provide taxi vouchers to Morinville seniors, allowing them to get to where they need to go.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein said she believed Council was like a dog chasing its tail because the policy says the grant should not be for recreation, and that is what the funding was being asked for. Though she supported the grant request, she reiterated the need to take a strong look at revising the policy.

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