West Kelowna decides on grant budget

The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society, the Lakeview Heights Tennis Club and the Okanagan Symphony Society struck out on Tuesday as West Kelowna council opted not to provide the aforementioned organizations any money through grants-in-aid.

Despite working with the organization for four months as a volunteer, Mayor Doug Findlater was against giving funds to the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society.

“I think this is a slippery slope to fund social service groups from Kelowna,” said Findlater.

“My concern is once you start this, you’ll be funding it forever.”

The district unanimously voted against providing the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society with any sort of cash grant.

But council wasn’t so quick to agree on whether or not to give money to the Lakeview Heights Tennis Club. The group was requesting $5,000, but a vote of four to three left the tennis club with nothing.

Coun. Bryden Winsby said he was struggling with deciding how much to give—if anything—to sports clubs that were requesting grants.

“I know we’re a possible source of funds for these groups, but it gets difficult to decide who should get and who shouldn’t,” said Winsby.

Another close vote resulted in no funds for the Okanagan Symphony Society. In 2011, the society received $5,000. Coun. Duane Ophus thought it would be appropriate to give the club the same amount in 2012.

Findlater said he didn’t see the value in funding the society.

“All of the other things that we are addressing are part of the identity of West Kelowna or they augment an existing program. I continue to have a difficulty—however good Okanagan Symphony is—seeing what (it) actually does for the DWK,” said Findlater.

Ophus was quick to challenge Findlater’s view.

“A substantial number of the people who participate with the symphony, in the audience as well as on the stage, are West Kelowna residents,” said Ophus.

“One of the things that attracts people to a community like the Okanagan is exactly the kind of thing that the Okanagan Symphony provides.”

Council went on to vote four to three not in favour of providing the Okanagan Symphony Society with any funds.

Other groups all received some sort of grants-in-aid; often they were for less money than the groups had requested:

- Bridge Youth and Family Services requested $8,000 and received $3,000.

- Westside Canadian Red Cross requested $14,448 and received $12,000.

- Gellatly Bay Trails and Parks requested $4,000 and received $2,000.

- Kelowna Rowing Club requested $11,932 and received $1,500.

- Liquid Lightening Swim Club requested $23,000 and received $11,500.

- Okanagan Boys and Girls Club (Restorative Justice) requested $3,500 and received $3,500.

- Telemark Cross Country and Ski Club requested $1,500 and received $1,500.

- West Kelowna Citizens’ Patrol Society requested $5,000 and received $5,000.

- West Kelowna Yacht Club requested $10,000 and received $5,000.

- Westside Celebration Society requested $20,000 and received $16,000.

- Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society requested $1,000 and received $1,000.

- Westside Health Network Society requested $10,000 and received $8,000.

- Westbank Museum Arts and Crafts Society requested $15,465. The decision was deferred.

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