OUR VIEW: Gift horse scrutinized

All that the donation really does, however, is give that process a deadline.

If someone hands you a chunk of money — and then asks you to use it to complete a project with a set time line — would you blame them for putting pressure on you?

Would you also look that gift horse in the mouth and suggest that making such an offer usurps the steps you need to take to ensure the job is done right?

Most people would not do those things. Especially if a generous donor is offering exactly that.

And if you did have an issue with the time line, a simple “thank you, but it’s just not the right time” would be a far sight better way to handle it, than questions the donor’s motives.

On the surface of their debate this week, that sounds exactly like what the District council was doing.

Someone stepped up and offered to donate $85,000 towards the District’s veterans memorial cenotaph project. Sounds generous. Sounds like good timing, as the project could take more than a year — and that could help get something in place by Remembrance Day in 2017.

That’s what the donor is asking — that Central Saanich use the money to get enough work done on the project to have, at least, a cenotaph standing on November 11 next year.

Instead of thinking of ways to make that happen, some District councillors said such an offer flies in the face of the District’s cenotaph committee and its process in coming up with a design and location for the project.

All that the donation really does, however, is give that process a deadline.

It’s no secret there are people waiting for the District to replace its dated and tiny memorial marker at town hall. One plan was drawn up already — but rejected on purely subjective grounds.

Fair enough. Yet the District had also lamented the cost — which would be helped immensely by the donation. Griping over a deadline seems petty at best, or downright obstructionist at worst.

Why obstructionist? Look at provincial and government grants — they too establish deadlines for municipalities to complete projects. In those cases, municipalities accept the stipulation and work to get the job done. If they don’t they lose the cash and might be on the hook for the work they’ve already done.

Central Saanich has people willing to step up and help make the cenotaph happen. Shouldn’t they at least be willing to do the work?

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