City of Prince Rupert supports Snowbirds funding – barely

Prince Rupert city council has acknowledged they were wrong voting to support the Snowbirds show behind closed doors.

Prince Rupert city council has acknowledged they were wrong voting to support the Snowbirds show behind closed doors.

Council returned the $7,000 funding request to an open session of council on Feb. 25 to, as council stated, “to be in line with the Community Charter”.

Although passed, the motion to provide money to the Snowbirds organizing committee did not receive an overwhelming level of support among the four councillors in attendance.

Councillor Anna Ashley, who opposed the initial request for funding, was steadfast in her decision not to give organizers money.

“I think the Snowbirds are a great opportunity for the town, but I still disagree with the amount of money put forward,” she said.

“The money left over from the Homecoming was not specifically targeted for Snowbirds. It was to come back to council to use for whatever organization they felt were within the community grant guidelines.”

With only four councillors in attendance and one vote in opposition, another nay vote would deny organizers the $7,000. Councillor Jennifer Rice voted in favour of giving the money after initially voting against the group’s request, but said it was more so a vote for the people than for herself.

“The reason I initially voted against this was because I did think the amount of money was significant given we’re cutting back on grants for all the regular grantees and given the financial situation of the municipality…. This is not something I am personally in favour of in any overly excited way, but if it is the will of the people then I will vote in favour,” she said.

“Personally I wonder about an event of this magnitude in one of the rainiest and cloudiest cities in the country. With all due respect to the organizers of this and the intent, I don’t think this is the most logical community event.”

While two councillors spoke against the event, councillor Nelson Kinney and Acting Mayor Gina Garon were supportive of the show.

“I know the Snowbirds were quite upset when they couldn’t perform last year and said they did want to come back. We have a window of opportunity and I would really hate for this to slip through because it could be another 20 years before they come back,” said Garon.

“I do believe this is an event for the whole community and for the region. There is no cost to any individual to come out to attend the event, you can view it from a number of different places in the community and it will bring in people from outlying communities. It brings a bit of an economy to the town.”