City holds off on backing southside reno grant

The Ksan House Society wants to establish a community meeting facility on Terrace's southside.

THE KSAN House Society won’t know until fall if its application for a grant to complete renovations on a southside building will be backed by city council.

The society wants money from the Northern Development Initiative Trust to fully convert an older building for community use.

But city council has plans of its own to use money from the trust and so held off on supporting the society’s application.

It also wants to delve further into whether or not there is other available community use space on the southside.

The decision was reached at last night’s council meeting.

Ksan approached council earlier this month for support in asking the trust for $23,084.

The renovated space was once used as an emergency shelter but has now been turned into a large room and kitchen with an adjoining office suite.

But to meet community use standards, parking needs to be improved, outdoor lighting is needed and a ventilation system is needed.

Ksan’s grant application needed to be backed council in order to be considered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

The trust was established with monies earned from the long term lease by CN of BC Rail tracks and distributes financial assistance in a variety of ways.

Currently there’s approximately $250,000 in an account earmarked for local use if council first gives its blessing.

But, in a report to city council, finance director Ron Bowles noted the city has planned to use the money to replace or renovate aging city buildings, listing the aquatic centre and city hall among candidates.

The city is drafting a pool master plan, he noted.

“There are competing interests for that money,” said Bowles. “[The society’s request] doesn’t really fit with the city’s mandate.”

Council members had concerns about the application, calling for a general discussion about the need for community spaces on the south side, beyond this specific request.

Councillor Brian Downie did note the request brings up a valid point.

“Aside from the Elks Hall, maybe the schools, there aren’t any facilities on the south side. There’s a logical argument it could be a priority for the city.”

But he said there needed to be further discussion about the amount of people who would be using the Ksan House space before the city could support letting go of the cash.

“We need to have a full conversation on the need for facilities on the south side,” said councillor Stacey Tyers.

“But what the application is missing is the amount of people the hall would actually hold,” she said. “For me, if it’s another venue that will only hold 50 people, that might not be a priority. But if it would hold 200, then maybe that would be a priority.”