Regional district funding phased out for Friends of Fintry

Heritage site volunteer group loses $39,000 grant incrementally over next two years

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) board has softened the $39,000 funding cutback blow for the Friends of Fintry Provincial Park Society.

The board voted Sept. 10 to adopt a regional park staff recommendation to reallocate the annual grant extended to the society to ostensibly pay for a curator to manage the Fintry Manor House and octagonal dairy barn heritage site on the Westside, halfway between West Kelowna and Vernon.

But the society will be given a two-year period to absorb the loss, with the grant reduced to $26,000 in 2021 and $13,000 in 2022.

The grant dates back to 2001, created in the aftermath of the regional district incurring a $2 million debt in 1996, amortized over 20 years, towards the purchase of the Fintry Manor land, part of which has been turned into a provincial campground.

It started at $30,000 in 2005, increased to $37,000 in 2006 and then again to $39,000 for the past 11 years.

READ MORE: RDCO to start upgrades on two regional parks

READ MORE: Fintry Park gatehouse flooded

Murray Kopp, director of parks services for RDCO, said the funding ended due in part to the conclusion of the regional district’s fiscal purchase commitment to the property, and the need for other ‘Friends of’ regional park organizations in need of funding support.

“We have many parks support groups, who do outstanding work in the regional district and reallocating those resources would be more beneficial to the regional parks system,” Kopp said.

Kathy Drew, president of the Friends of Fintry, said the funding withdrawal came as a shock to them, only learning about parks staff recommendation to the board from Kopp on Sept. 4.

“We will carry on regardless but not sure at this point where else we can finding funding. At least we have a little bit of time because originally the funding was to end as of next April, but now it will be stepped down gradually over the next two years,” Drew said.

“We will continue, of course, but it might be in a different manner. We’ll do the best we can.”

Drew explained their volunteer-led group relied on the funding to pay the site curator and historian Dan Bruce.

“Dan is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Without him we would be a ship without a rudder,” she said.

Drew said she was disappointed the board reflected a ‘Kelowna-centric’ viewpoint in stepping back from its financial support of Fintry.

“Five of the 12 directors were supportive of us. It is just getting the rest to realize the regional district is not just Kelowna.”

Drew said the society has received capital project funding support from the province over the years, but there is limited funding available for operating expenses.

With operating hours impacted by the pandemic, Drew said Fintry was visited by 1,500 from May through September, with tour groups limited to six due to public gathering restrictions when it normally would be 20 to 30.

The neighbouring provincial campground is a big draw, accounting for about 80 per cent of heritage site visits.

The pandemic also caused the cancellation of three Fintry Park fair fundraiser events in May, July and September.

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

(Contributed - City of West Kelowna)
City of West Kelowna to consider endorsing Smith Creek project

Smith Creek neighbourhood plan proposes 900+ housing development on 154 hectares

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

City of Kelowna crews are cleaning city hall after it was vandalized overnight. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

West Kelowna Panthers. (Contributed)
West Kelowna minor hockey team raising money to broadcast games

No spectators are currently allowed at minor hockey games in BC

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

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

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

Most Read