qathet Regional District (qRD) board has voted to enter into a four-year service agreement with Tourism Powell River to provide $16,000 of annual operational funding. The money is for the Powell River Visitor Centre and will be allocated beginning in 2020.
At the June 25 regional board meeting, when a motion to accept the agreement was made, Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne asked which services the money would be coming from. Manager of financial services Linda Greenan said the money was coming from the regional district’s economic development service and the Electoral Area B grant-in-aid.
Gisborne asked if this year’s $16,000 had been allocated already, or if the regional district was waiting until the agreement passed.
Greenan said the money had not been handed out yet and wouldn’t be until it received board support.
Gisborne said with that information, the board has a number of grant requests in excess of funds available and the board may be forced to underfund some worthy causes due to a lack of available funds.
“I want to make sure we are being fair,” said Gisborne. “I would like to request that we postpone this decision until the July board meeting when we have hammered out the grant funding requests. It’s a difficult year because we don’t have enough food in the pot to go around.
“I’m a little bit apprehensive supporting this resolution when we have a lot of other grant requests where we will not be able to meet those funding requirements.”
Gisborne made a motion to postpone the decision until the July board meeting.
Board chair Patrick Brabazon said Gisborne wanted to postpone the motion so funding to Tourism Powell River could be considered along with all of the grant funding before the board, which the board would deal with in the middle of July.
“I agree with director Gisborne that a motion to postpone it is in order,” said Brabazon.
Electoral Area C director Clay Brander asked how postponement would affect Tourism Powell River.
Brabazon said it would affect the organization in that it wouldn’t have a service agreement before the meeting in July.
“There would be a one-month delay,” said Brabazon.
Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said she would like to speak against postponement.
“We have strung Tourism Powell River along for a lot of months and they have an agreement with the City of Powell River,” said McCormick. “It’s most appropriate that we move forward regardless of what the other demands are. From my recollection, from finance committee, there was money in the economic development service, so I would like to move forward on this.”
McCormick said she didn’t see postponing it for another month is going to help anyone, especially Tourism Powell River.
City director CaroleAnn Leishman said she would be voting against postponement. She said the July board meeting is halfway through summer so she said she thinks it’s unfair to string Tourism Powell River along for another month without clarity, especially in this time to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown.
“I’m baffled that we would do that,” said Leishman.
The motion to postpone failed.
Brabazon called for a vote on the four-year service agreement. The motion passed, with Gisborne opposed.
There was a second motion, that qRD ask Tourism Powell River to engage directly with Sunshine Coast Tourism and that qRD encourage Tourism Powell River and Sunshine Coast Tourism to come to an agreement as quickly as possible.
The motion carried unanimously.