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District hands out over $120,000 in grants in aid

District of Squamish Council approved $129,984 in grant-in-aid requests Tuesday (March 15) for a host of community groups.

District of Squamish Council approved $129,984 in grant-in-aid requests Tuesday (March 15) for a host of community groups.

Mayor Ian Sutherland said the amount of money offered to community groups through the grant-in-aid program is significantly higher this year than last year but he feels the grant money will bring good value to the community.

"We're putting money into big projects that are going to bring bigger bang to the community," Sutherland said.

The outgoing money comes on top of grants handed out by the new Squamish Community Foundation.

Sutherland noted the community foundation wasn't put in place to completely eliminate grants-in-aid from the district. He said some one-time initiatives are best funded through grants from the district.

"It is only two years into the community foundation," said Sutherland.

Almost $7,000 of the grant-in-aid total is accounted for in requests from community groups asking for use of District-owned facilities. When grants are offered for the use of DOS facilities the DOS pays out little in the way of real cash to fulfill the grant.

The largest grant is going to the Squamish Yacht Club, which will receive $60,000 to help refurbish the former Harbour Ferries dock and to construct a new 76-metre (250-foot) dock at the foot of Main Street.

The project is going to be done in two phases with the first phase consisting of construction and the second phase focusing on dock security and the installation of electricity and water to the dock.

Rob Helm, the Squamish Yacht Club Commodore, submitted a work plan to Sutherland earlier this month.

"These will be very usable and attractive docks with basic dock amenities," Helm wrote.

According to the work plan submitted by Helm the total budget for phase one is $120,000 with the yacht club picking up the other half.

Work in phase one is to include; taking out old pilings, installing 30 new piles, building the new dock and cleaning up the existing facility.

Helm estimates the phase one work will involve 550 man-hours. The District contribution is coming from the 2004 budget.Funding for the second phase is not finalized.

"What we've told the yacht club is that we want to partner with groups to get more bang for our buck," said Sutherland. "Once phase one is completed we told the yacht club we could talk about holding more discussions in the future."

The next biggest outlay of district cash went to the North Shore St. James Youth Safe House. Local governments on the North Shore are also contributing to the facility. Those who run the facility asked for financial help from Squamish because local youth make use of the safe house.

The Howe Sound Women's Centre was granted $20,000 to help cover the cost of its ongoing programs.

The parent advisory committee at Valleycliffe Elementary School was given $10,000 to be spent on construction of new playground facilities.

Smaller amounts were handed for things like the eagle viewing area interpretive program, a women's national golf tournament being held in Squamish and a new women's safety network program.

The Grad committee, the Rotary Club and the BC Whippet Racing Club were granted the use of District facilities for upcoming events. The Rotary Club wanted the facilities for the Still Dancing show set for June 4.

One grant request was deferred to a future meeting because the mayor said negotiations are ongoing. Squamish Days Loggers Sports asked for a grant valued at $2,417.44.

Council decided to reserve its decision because members of council learned a request by the Squamish Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) to use the loggers sports grounds for an April 17 awards ceremony was refused by the Squamish Days Association.

Brian Couture of Squamish Days said SYSA organizers weren't prepared to pay for the facility and they weren't prepared to put some volunteer time into improving the facility in lieu of paying cash.

On Wednesday Sutherland said a compromise was reached and the SYSA will use the loggers sports grounds on April 17.

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