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Heritage funding comes under scrutiny

New formula in future desirable for regional directors

Powell River Regional District grants-in-aid for heritage are old news for at least one director.

At the board’s March 26 meeting, contemplation was given to providing a $38,000 grant-in-aid to Powell River Historical Museum and Archives.

Colin Palmer, Electoral Area C director, said he did not think too many people had an appetite to fund the museum in this manner in the future. He said there needs to be a different way of handling this situation, other than grant-in-aid funding.

“Hopefully, at some point during the year, we’ll be sitting down and discussing how we are going to handle it,” he said.

Texada Islanders also had issue with funding for heritage. Sandy McCormick, Electoral Area D director, asked if the money being allocated to the Powell River museum came from the regional district’s general grant-in-aid account.

Linda Greenan, the district’s manager of financial services, said the money came from the general grant-in-aid that was paid for by all regional district areas.

McCormick asked if this allocation would take away from the Texada Island Heritage Commission.

Greenan said the two allocations were from separate funding sources.

Russell Brewer, City of Powell River director who was chairing the meeting, said he thinks there is a way to accommodate a regional service discussion incorporating the heritage society so it is not taking away funding, or requiring more funding on Texada.

“That can all be part of that discussion, I would think,” Brewer said.

McCormick questioned whether this grant-in-aid would mean that Texada Island taxpayers are paying for both the heritage commission on the island and the museum in Powell River.

“There is money coming out of Texada for the commission and there is a little bit of money coming out of Texada for this grant,” replied Al Radke, regional district chief administrative officer.

Greenan said Texada Island was contributing $2,716 for all general grants-in-aid. She estimated Texada’s contribution for the Powell River museum as $2,400.

The board considered the following motion: that the board concur with the recommendation of the committee of the whole to authorize financial assistance in the amount of $38,423 to Powell River Historical Museum and Archives to assist them in their ongoing activities for 2015; and that the funds be allocated through the general grant-in-aid account.

The motion passed with Stan Gisborne, Electoral Area B director, opposed.

At the beginning of the board meeting, Dave Murphy, Texada Island resident and former regional director for the island, spoke as a delegation to the board and requested that the formula be changed in future.

“Texada would be paying twice for museum services,” he said. “I understand Director McCormick has agreed to this grant-in-aid, but I think for the future, if there is any discussion on setting up a service on Texada, from what I’ve heard, we don’t want to participate in that. Perhaps small grants-in-aid from time to time if there is a need, but not involved as a service.

“I think Director McCormick has direction from heritage to go that route as well.”