Council voted unanimously to donate $5,000 contingent on the success of the Elks’ Heritage Canada grant March 22, 2021. (Google Maps)

Council voted unanimously to donate $5,000 contingent on the success of the Elks’ Heritage Canada grant March 22, 2021. (Google Maps)

City to donate $5K to Vernon Elks

Vernon service club may now be reconsidered for Heritage Canada grant funding

The Vernon Elks 45 will receive support to the tune of $5,000 from the city so they may be considered for a once-in-100-years grant opportunity from the federal government.

But council’s move to donate the funds raised questions about why the matter wasn’t brought before council sooner.

In March 2020, the service club first asked the City of Vernon for a small financial or in-kind donation showing support in their application for the Legacy Fund Centennial Project from Heritage Canada in order to update the facility.

The Elks were provided with a letter of support from the mayor in October but was told by Heritage Canada that was not enough.

The matter first came before council March 8, and councillors Scott Anderson, Dalvir Nahal and Kari Gares expressed concern and said they were “blindsided” by the issue.

Historically, council doesn’t provide not-for-profit organizations with funding for their building, but encourage they apply through discretionary grants.

“We don’t invest in buildings we don’t own,” Mayor Victor Cumming said when questioned by Anderson.

Anderson pointed to correspondence dating back to June and questioned the authority of the Chief Administrative Officer.

“This sounds like there are two people involved in a decision that should have come to council months and months ago,” Anderson said.

In the meeting prior (March 8), city staff pointed to council’s historic position to consolidate the block the clubhouse sits on for future development adjacent to the future Greater Vernon Cultural Centre and noted funding upgrades would be a conflict of interest.

Coun. Brian Quiring said that didn’t sit well with him.

“It looks a little bit like we’re forcing them out,” Quiring said. “They need us to get this grant and we’re not going to give them what they need because we want their property.”

Quiring moved to donate $500 if the club was successful in its application.

Now, that donation has jumped tenfold to ensure the contribution would be seen as “meaningful,” as per requested by the grant provider.

Although arbitrary — as the minimum was never clearly defined, the mayor said — $5,000 would likely check the boxes required.

“I’m cynical about the $5,000,” Anderson said, noting the Elks were told no for nearly a year. “Then it hits the press and we offer $5,000?”

Quiring, too, worried the jump could set a dangerous precedent.

“They just want to show that we support them,” Quiring said. “They clarified that it can be a small amount or a gift in kind.”

All of council agreed the Elks had special circumstances due to the uniqueness of the application and its historical roots.

Council voted unanimously to donate $5,000 contingent on the success of the Elks’ Heritage Canada grant.

If awarded, the grant, valued around $100,000, would go towards replacing two 30-year-old furnaces, making bathrooms more accessible, adding an elevator and giving the clubhouse a facelift with new paint and flooring.

READ MORE: City support may come for Vernon service club Monday

READ MORE: Interior Health begins immunization of workers in high-risk locations as age cohorts expand


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vernon Curling Club has been selected to host the 2022 B.C. Mixed Doubles championships Feb. 9-13, and will also the 2022 B.C. Winter Games curling competitions Feb. 24-27. (Morning Star - file photo)
Local club will host B.C. Mixed Doubles and B.C. Winter Games curling in February 2022

The Vernon Curling Club is among the host sites for Curl B.C.’s… Continue reading

The Regional District of North Okanagan prepared to fine individuals $100 if caught verbally abusing landfill staff amid COVID-19. (RDNO Website)
Limit North Okanagan landfill visits to essential trips: RDNO

Regional district reminds patrons to be respectful of staff amid high-traffic pandemic times

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Most Read