Powell River council supports Townsite tourism app

City will contribute $15,000 to the project

City of Powell River Council will provide $15,000 to Townsite Heritage Society for an application intended to enhance tourism options in the Townsite area.

At the September 3 council meeting, councillor Cindy Elliott moved that council allocate $10,000 from the city’s innovation fund to support the Townsite Heritage Society’s tourism-based economic development project.

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After reading the motion, Elliott said she’s in favour of the society receiving all $25,000 it’s looking for to begin the project, but she added that it’s her understanding the city wants to give the process with Powell River Community Forest as a potential funder some time to consider chipping in as well.

“The motion at this time is for $10,000 to support the very innovative, virtual tourism project that the society has come forward with,” said Elliott. “It’s exciting and I’m excited about it and in favour of it.”

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she wanted to move that the amount be changed from $10,000 to $15,000. That was seconded by councillor Maggie Hathaway.

Leishman said she had been involved with the society. She said it is going to require between $12,000 and $15,000 for the initial costing for the project. She added that the $12,000 to $15,000 of that initial seed funding is for the project’s program development.

“There’s multiple layers,” said Leishman. “If council was to fund $15,000 then they can do the initial costing of the program development and know exactly how much they need to plan for. The $10,000 alone is not going to do anything. They need more funding just to build the project planning of the app. That doesn’t pay for the videographers to tell the stories or any of that stuff.”

Hathaway asked if the city puts in $15,000, would that cover all of the costing so the organization could go to other funders and indicate they’ve done step one, here’s what it’s going to cost and what will be needed over the years.

“Is that the idea so that they are not going to the community forest over and over again?” said Hathaway.

Leishman said that was her understanding.

Hathaway said she thinks she could support the $15,000 expenditure.

Councillor Jim Palm asked the proponent, Townsite Heritage Society president Ann Nelson, who was in council chambers, if the city provided the society with $15,000, would that enhance the chances of getting the other funds the society would be applying for through other agencies. Nelson said that was the case.

Mayor Dave Formosa said he was tasked to see if some funds could be found, such as $15,000 from the community forest, and whether this would match the protocols. Formosa asked what happens to the need of that $15,000 and whether that goes away with the city’s contribution.

Nelson said the $25,000 ask was for the beginning of the whole process. She said the society would be looking for other funding opportunities and applying for them. She said the society knows the whole project will require more than $25,000.

“We know that there is the possibility that future provincial funding opportunities may not be available on the usual calendar of our expectations,” said Nelson.

Formosa said he thinks the city should carry on with the $15,000 and efforts should continue to work with the community forest to come up with additional funding.

Palm asked, if other provincial funding opportunities dry up, whether the society would continue to come back to council and go through the community forest for additional funding.

Nelson said this was an opportunity for her to present to council and ask for a one-time seed money contribution.

Councillor George Doubt said council had received a couple of presentations on this project and it had changed a little bit from the beginning. He said at the first meeting he got the impression council was being asked for a one-time contribution of $10,000 to a $25,000 project, and the remainder was going to be made up of other funding. He said council was changing it now to $15,000, which is going to come out of a fund that has no process for replenishment.

Doubt said it was being proposed to spend $15,000 of the $36,000 fund on the Townsite project. He said, however, he was in favour of the $15,000 contribution.

“I’ve been thinking about a number of options as we go along,” said Doubt. “If $15,000 is what’s on the table for this project, I’m prepared to support it.”

Council carried a motion to allocate $15,000 for the project.

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