Central Saanich approves $97,000 in grants-in-aid

There are 30 organizations receiving grants totaling $97,481.50 — down by around $10,000 from last year's anticipated budget.

The District of Central Saanich has approved its grants-in-aid applications for 2016.

There are 30 organizations receiving grants totalling $97,481.50, which came in around the District’s anticipated $99,500 budget, down by around $10,000 from last year.

“We tried to be fair to everybody. There was some thoughts around the table about ways to achieve it but in the end the consensus was the chairs recommendations,” said Mayor, Ryan Windsor in a phone interview.

The largest grant was $20,000 to the Boys and Girls Club, followed by $17,250 to the Saanich Pioneer Society and $10,000 to Peninsula Streams.

Also approved was an additional $2,000 towards the Peninsula Country Market. Councillor Bob Thompson left the room during the discussion, as he is in a conflict of interest, serving as the market’s president.

The Saanichton Village Association’s application of $4,000 was also approved, which saw Coun. Niall Paltiel leave the room as he is a member of the Association.

Council will review the grants-in aid process further this March. Windsor said the review stemmed from an earlier motion which said that over the next two to three years, they would change the grants-in-aid process to further reflect the ever growing cost of the program to the municipality.

“But that number had grown from … $47,000 15 years ago to getting close to $150,000 now, so really tripled,” he said.

Central Saanich is limiting its money in the grants-in-aid program to around one per cent of its total tax revenue. Windsor said the one per cent was never written anywhere in policy, adding it was just an unofficial council policy successive councils have followed.

Current council determined they needed to clarify that and create something council could be more comfortable with, rather than an ever-increasing payout to grants-in-aid.

“We want (the applicant’s) input,” Windsor said. “We want them to be aware of what we’re doing and hear from them about the changes and how they would like to see us phase it.”

A full list of grant recipients can be seen on the District’s website.

In February 2015, the PNR reported Central Saanich awarded around $96,000 in similar grants.