City of Kelowna to pay cultural panel ‘volunteers’

Panel members should be compensated for reviewing cultural grant applications says city cultural services manger.

City of Kelowna logo

Kelowna city council says it’s willing to pay people who volunteer to sit on its cultural grant panel.

Saying it wants to attract people who are qualified to review grant applications, council gave the green light to a recommendation from cultural services manager Sandra Kochan, who said it is getting harder to find volunteers for the panel, so panelists should be compensated.

The fee would be $25 for each application reviewed and $125 for participating in a round table meeting to discuss who should get the grants.

But while a majority of councillors agreed with the move Monday, it was not unanimous.

Coun. Tracey Gray noted volunteers on other city committees do not get compensated and Coun. Brad Sieben said he feared the precedent it could set.

But Mayor Colin Basran said council’s decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and do not set precedents.

“I don’t want just anybody who volunteers,” said Basran. “I want quality people to put their names forward.”

The cultural grant panel accepts volunteers each December to review grant applications to be handed out the next year.

The compensation would only be for cultural grant panel members and was not extended to volunteers who serve on other city committees and boards.