The city has decided that it won’t be giving $10,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society for the construction of the new cancer lodge in Prince George.
Terrace city council debated the donation after a request from cancer society campaign chair Gerry Martin, who asked council to consider putting money towards the $10 million Kordyban Lodge that would provide low-cost accommodation to cancer patients, at a meeting May 24.
The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine has already decided to donate $0.25 per person in the region, and the city was asked to donate $0.75 per person in Terrace; with a population of 11,320, the donation came out to $8,490. Council was told that a $10,000 donation receives recognition on the lodge’s donor wall.
While most councillors were in favour of a $10,000 donation to the lodge, the matter was referred to administration to see where the money would come from and the subject was discussed again during a meeting June 13.
That’s when council learned that there’s $11,050 left in its unbudgeted council fund; the $10,000 community grant would lower this fund to $1,050 for the rest of the year. There’s already been $9,000 spent from this $20,000 budget on for things like helmet education signage ($2,000), rent, taxes and utilities for My Mountain Co-op ($4,450), heritage celebrations ($50), a bouldering wall for Caledonia ($450), and a brass plaque ($2,000).
Council was also told that since the meeting in May, the province donated $2 million to the lodge, which completed the fundraising requirements.
Councillor Brian Downie was the only one on council who wanted to still donate money to the lodge.
“Most of the people using the lodge…are not from the Prince George area – it’s not necessarily a direct benefit to the citizens of Prince George,” he said, saying it’s a value to Terrace residents and would be good for outlying areas to show support to the lodge.
Councillor Brad Pollard said with the regional district’s contribution, people have told him they’ve done more than enough.
“I’m not suggesting this is not a very valuable project and it will serve an awful lot of people,” he said, “but as I did in the regional district (meeting), I recommended that we pay $0.25…because that’s about one-quarter of the people who are going to use it.”
Councillor Carol Leclerc said things had changed since the meeting a couple of weeks ago.
“If the money is paid off, I don’t see the need for us to make our donation. I know that things are always tight around here,” she said. “And I’m sure there’s going to be other initiatives come up that the money could probably be used for. So I’d like to waive the option of having to make the donation at this time.”
Councillor Bruce Martindale, who originally suggested donating the $10,000 to the society for the lodge, agreed with Leclerc.
“If there’s a need…we could have added to the need or helped them increase momentum or show leadership in this, then I definitely would have supported this,” he said. “But at this point, we’re not a wealthy city. We need to be very careful with what we do with our money. And I would suggest that if the need has been met, it’s time to put our resources somewhere else.”