THE COMMUNITY group running the Shames Mountain ski facility is to get $15,000 after all, city council decided last night.
The decision reverses a recommendation from city staffers that My Mountain Co-op not receive any money from the city this year.
The co-op already receives a subsidy from the city by paying $1 a year for office space in the city-owned Kwinitsa building valued at $6,000 a year.
In supporting the group’s request, city councillor Brian Downie reminded council of what it told the group last year.
“Considering we actually asked them to come back to us, I believe the support we give is important to My Mountain Co-op,” said councillor Brian Downie.
That was in reference to three appearances made by the co-op asking for money last year as it was preparing a bid to buy Shames. A first request for $200,000 was turned down as was a second one for $90,000. A third request for $15,000 was then approved with an invitation for the co-op to ask again when the city prepares its 2012 budget.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski agreed with Downie.
“I would be uncomfortable moving away from what we went with,” he said. “Is there any opposition to that?”
“I don’t support it,” said newly-elected councillor Stacey Tyers, pointing out that for some community organizations, tax exemptions and rent reductions were counted against requests for grants.
She didn’t feel My Mountain Co-op should receive special treatment.
Councillor James Cordeiro, also newly-elected, didn’t support giving money either.
“If it’s not viable, we’re throwing good money after bad. If it is viable, they don’t need our money,” he said. “They could quite simply charge an improvement fee.”
“I would have actually have liked to have seen them here so that we could ask them questions,” added Tyers.
Councillor Marylin Davies said that she’d spoken to many people who she didn’t expect would agree with giving the ski-operation money to run, but they did.
“(But) not one red cent to pay off the debt,” she added.
At the debate’s end, only Cordeiro and Tyers were against awarding the $15,000 grant.
But that amount is not set in stone.
The final budget must be voted upon in a formal council meeting and approved come spring time. Last night’s city council meeting is one of many being held to fine tune the city’s 2012 budget.
Council will be asking the co-op for an update on how its first year of operations went and how it spent the city’s money.