Prince Rupert mayor and council are still searching for $66

Prince Rupert mayor and council are still searching for $66

City still searching for library funds

Budget discussions may garner $66,000 to make up for funding shortfall

The Prince Rupert Library grant allocation saga is far from over.

At last Monday’s city council meeting, and after a plethora of outspoken community members made their case as to why the library shouldn’t see its grant allocation funding slashed by $66,000 in 2016, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain explained the rationale behind council’s decision to increase funding for the Lester Centre of the Arts and the Museum of Northern British Columbia.

“It needs to be clear to the public that we don’t see the library as a luxury item in the community. In fact, we see it as a necessity to the community,” said Brain last Monday, Jan. 25.

The problem, for mayor and council said Brain, is that the grant system they have inherited is flawed in that the library, the Lester Centre and the museum all need base operational costs to keep running – the Lester Centre and the museum.

The pool of organizations encompassing the Community Enhancement Grant allocations are meant to be just that, enhancement grants, said the mayor.

“What we don’t want to do is have the library and those three institutions competing with other groups in the community for a pool of funds that’s really about helping organizations with $5,000 here or $10,000 there,” he continued.

Council will engage in negotiations with the museum, library and Lester Centre to ensure that the three don’t have to keep applying for funding through the grant applications, but can have solid, established long-term contracts that will provide certainty to the recipients.

Despite the museum and Lester Centre charging admission for some of their services, council was told that if both organizations didn’t see some sort of increase in funding for 2016, it’s possible that one or both organizations would close their doors, as well as be unable to address infrastructure issues.

“I can assure you, there wouldn’t be any room for people to be sitting here because people would be outraged at us, ‘How could we allow that to happen?’ … so we provided funding relief for those two organizations [at the expense of the library’s budget].

“The good news about the library is that the building is owned by the City, so it falls under the City’s maintenance, so we do maintain the library as well,” Brain said.

Additionally, the grant allocation process is problematic because organizations applying for funds are doing so before the City has had a chance to finalize its budget in May. But the community organizations need the grants right away in January.

Not all council members were on board with the decision, including Coun. Joy Thorkelson, who made her opinions known at the public forum.

“I believe it was done in an exceedingly poor manner, trying to take $66,000 dollars off of the budget of the library in one fell swoop. It’s going to put it into the kind of financial pit it was in just after the mill closed,” she said.

“I think it was an absolute idiocy to put on a cap [of $850,000 for grants distributed] that everybody knew you couldn’t possibly live in. That was the wrong way to go about it.”

Going forward, Brain added that it’s very possible that the City could find $66,000 in their budget discussions in the coming months that can be allocated toward the library’s deficit.

“If that $66,000 emerges, I can guarantee to everybody here today that that’s going to the library’s operating budget, hands down,” said the mayor.

Coun. Nelson Kinney added that the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District, of which he is a director on the board, is also working to find more funding in their budget talks.

The funds needed to negotiate more permanent contracts with the three organizations will come from new, potential revenue generated by the City in 2016, but should that new revenue not be realized, Brain said that personally and not speaking for council, he wouldn’t be opposed to raising taxes two per cent next year to finalize the contracts and ensure long-term security for the library, museum and Lester Centre.


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

Just Posted

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Local health authority maps are updated each week. The brown maps show the number of confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 for the week of Jan. 15 to 21, with the blue map showing cases over the past year. (Image supplied)
COVID-19 outbreak numbers increase at Acropolis and exposures are up in S.D. 52

Business COVID-19 safety plans are law, public needs to follow health protocols - Northern Health

Asher Hauknes shows his strength with Prince Rupert Gymnastics head coach Erin Hipkiss looking on Nov. 13. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Gymnastics Association benefits from Community Gaming Grant

Prince Rupert sports club to receive just less than $90,000 to build new facility

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

Most Read