It is laudable when an individual makes a charitable donation to a cause of his choice, as did Craig Mearns with his donation towards a playground for the North Saanich middle school (Private donation pushes playground ahead PNR June 29). However, it is disappointing that councillor Mearns used the event as an opportunity to publicly criticize North Saanich council in respect of a decision which he supported.
Each year, North Saanich council receives numerous requests for grants in aid from local organizations to support worthy causes in the community. It is established practice that applications need to be received by Jan. 31 each year. Unfortunately the request in regard to the playground was not received until April 28 and therefore could not be considered for this year, since all of the funding for grants in aid had already been allotted.
Further councillor Mearns is quoted as saying “After turning down the application from the school [council] passed one from the CRD …”. This was not a grant in aid application, nor was it made to the CRD.
What he is alluding to is a separate matter, a donation to the Regional Housing Trust Fund. North Saanich is one of 11 regional municipalities regularly contributing to the fund which has been extremely successful, through partnering with senior levels of government, in providing affordable housing in the Capital Region. Since 2005, 361 housing units have been provided, housing more than 120 families and more than 235 individuals.
Finally, the article states Craig Mearns sees his donation as a little bit of a payback. Regardless of his motivation, by not accurately and completely stating the background facts councillor Mearns casts his council in an unfavourable light which is both unjustified and inappropriate.
Mayor, North Saanich