During its most recent meeting, the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee voted to give money to the Invermere Curling Club to help fund the club’s website project. The committee also voted to ask the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce to give a presentation on its request for funding to help with building renovations.
Committee chair Wendy Booth, during the committee’s Monday, October 27th meeting, began the discussion around the curling club’s request for $2,000 by telling the other committee members about her recent discussion with curling club member Christine DuBois. DuBois told Booth the club has had a financial shortfall for the past few years because of reduced capacity at the Invermere Community Hall, which has limited the club’s ability to raise funds during the annual bonspiel on Lake Windermere. Normally, the club raises $20,000 a year at events at the community hall during the bonspiel.
“For $2,000, this would be money well-spent (by the committee),” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft. “There’s something measurable at the end — a website — and it will help draw people to the valley and promotes a healthy lifestyle.”
Radium mayor Dee Conklin said she was leery of setting a precedent by giving funding for a website, since this might prompt other groups wanting to set up websites to come to the directed funds committee for money.
“These days, everybody needs a website,” said Conklin.
Committee member Craig Knapp said the decision to give the money to the curling club would not necessarily mean the committee is then obligated to give money to every group with a future website funding request.
The motion to give the curling club the $2,000 passed unanimously.
The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce submitted a project information form requesting $25,000 to renovate the chamber building, with the intention of creating a better meeting space, creating new rental office space, and other business service improvements.
In discussion on the request, Booth pointed out that the chamber had initially approached the Columbia Basin Trust for the money, but was told by the Trust
that since its mandate was for valley-wide services, it would have to apply to the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee. A community on its own that wasn’t part of a directed funds committee would be able to apply directly to the Trust, said Booth.
“It brings into focus that we really do work well together in the valley, but it seems like we’re getting penalized for it,” she said.
Several committee members said they weren’t sure if the project fit with the directed funds committee priorities.
“It could fit into our priorities, if its an economic driver for the valley,” said Taft, adding that unfortunately committee members can’t get more information and have a back and forth on the project with chamber executive director Susan Clovechok without formally inviting Clovechok back for a presentation.
“It will take more time (the next committee meeting is not for another month), but I think it’s better to do that than just say ‘no’ now,” said Taft.
“The reality is that this (renovation) project will be completed by our next meeting, but that doesn’t preclude us from giving it retroactive funding,” said Booth.
The committee members voted in support of Clovechok giving a presentation on the project at the next meeting.
Also at the October 27th meeting, the committee members voted to spend up to $10,000 to host a one-day facilitated discussion with Columbia Valley marketing and branding stakeholders some time before the end of the year.
“As this is the number one priority that was in the Community Priorities Plan, this is an important project and I’m thankful for John Rouse and Rick Thompson (committee members) who brought this forward. While I don’t know where this will take us, I look forward to the process,” Booth told The Pioneer after the meeting, speaking about the planned discussion.
Booth also gave other committee members a quick rundown of her presentation of the Columbia Valley Visitor Centre Operations and Future Co-ordination Report to other municipalities and groups in the valley. Booth said Canal Flats council gave mixed feedback, Radium council was mostly positive, the Radium Chamber of Commerce was positive, the Fairmont Business Association gave positive feedback, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce was supportive of pursuing further steps, and Invermere council generally thinks the idea is good.