Council learned this week
where tens of thousands of dollars in grant money was spent over the past year,
getting a good sense of the value of their investment into the community.
Several community groups who
received more than $10,000 in the municipal Community Enrichment Program last
year reported their spending to council.
“It’s a new part of the
process in keeping the dialogue going between the recipients and council,” said
Mayor Ken Melamed at Monday’s afternoon meeting.
He also alluded to the
financial pressures on council this year as it struggles to balance its 2008
budget and the potential for the CEP program to be reduced in size this year.
“We haven’t made the final
decisions yet,” said the mayor.
In the meantime, it was all
good news Monday as council learned where tens of thousands of dollars in grant
money was spent in the last year.
Among other things, the
Whistler Nordics used its $15,000 to hire a head coach and buy a new timing
system to improve the quality of community events, said Tom Barratt, president
of the club.
The latest Twoonie race saw
the highest turnout ever last week with 117 participants.
“I’d like to think that both
in tangible and intangible ways we’re repaying our grant in spades,” Barratt
The Whistler Adaptive Sports
Program has also been growing exponentially in the last year, seeing an 80 per
cent increase in the number of lessons provided. Executive director Chelsey
Walker also highlighted how the program has expanded from winter activities to
summer activities for adaptive guests.
Of the $20,000 CEP grant,
$12,000 was used to support salaries for instructors and the executive director
position, and $8,000 went to support general operations.
“(We’re) completely at
capacity in terms of our funding,” said Walker.
The Zero Ceiling Society also
put its $14,380 in grant money to good use, selecting nine at risk youth from
Vancouver to participate in its Work to Live Program. Some of those selected
are working in Whistler-Blackcomb’s food and beverage department, and others in
the snowboard school. Two applicants are working at Cypress Mountain.
Marc Zurbuchen, the program
manager, said one of the participants had already won an Above and Beyond award
After the winter season, the
participants will go through a second training program for summer jobs.
Greg McDonnell, executive
director of the Whistler Community Services Society, also offered council a
“sincere thank you for the funding” it received last year. The $15,000 that
went to the WCSS paid for the seven-week Interim Housing Program, designed to
help young people new to the resort land on their own two feet. The money
specifically paid for wages, rent, and hydro for the program, which put young
adults in local bed and breakfasts and provided assistance in finding jobs and
a more permanent places to live.
Of the 19 people that took
part, McDonnell said 17 were what he would call a success.
The Association of Whistler
Area Residents for the Environment also gave an update on its Sustainability
Speaker Series, for which it received $18,500. Though just one speaker has come
to Whistler since the grant money was awarded — former premier Mike Harcourt —
several more speakers are being lined up for 2008.
On the list of those who may
come are: authors Michael Pollan, Paul Hawken and Naomi Klein.
“We’re keen to bring these
speakers to the resort soon,” said Carson from AWARE.
The biggest CEP recipient, the
Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA), which received a $35,000 grant
in 2007, did not appear at the meeting for an update due to an illness, but
will make a presentation at a future council meeting.
Council gave out more than
$200,000 in CEP grants last year after receiving 25 applications totaling more