Invermere council has unanimously agreed to give the Columbia House Enhancement Society (COHO) a grant for the society’s healing garden.

The issue came up late this summer, when the society’s request for a fee-for-service was discussed. At the time, district staff expressed frustration that the society had not submitted a proper report, including financials, along with its request, and suggested council consider withholding future fee-for-service requests until COHO submitted the required supporting documents.

The society met with district staff again in the ensuing month. Then they submitted another grant request, along with an estimated annual operating budget, at last week’s Tuesday, Sept. 27 council meeting. With those documents in place, council members were happy to oblige and give a $6,500 grant.

The grant was not earmarked for any specific project, but will instead be used (along with other funding streams) to help pay for the healing garden’s annual operation costs. 

COHO outlined an annual operating budget of $29,000, with $16,000 being ‘garden direct’ (used for labour, landscaping and plants) and $13,000 being ‘society direct’ (for website management, office expenses, bookkeeping and accounting). The society made clear in its letter that the District of Invermere grant would go specifically to ‘garden direct’ items.

In its letter, the society noted this was the first full season of operation at the healing garden without any large construction projects. Also, the ongoing operational costs the grant would be used for include: Labour costs for flower bed and shrubbery care, labour costs for lawn care, irrigation inspection and annual start up, water feature inspection and maintenance, annual irrigation and water feature winterization, as well as tree pruning, plant replacement, and bench maintenance, as required.