The Town of Qualicum Beach has agreed to grant the St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society $5,000.
Coun. Robert Filmer brought a notice of motion to council’s July 21 meeting to provide the funds from the 2021 COVID-19 grant in aid program.
Coun. Scott Harrison shared concerns with the motion because the society did not fit eligibility criteria set out by the ministry of municipal affairs. The program was designed to help charitable, philanthropic and non-for-profits that provided core community services during the pandemic.
“I am not aware of the core community that would have been provided during the pandemic, especially because the society didn’t formally exist until we were most of the way through,” Harrison said. He added there will be no audit from the province, but he did not want to misuse the funds.
Filmer said he had hoped to use the COVID-19 so the funds would not come out of the town budget, but did not realize the society was not eligible. “Although we made the commitment to work with the society and save the lodge, we did make that commitment that it’s going to come to no large cost to the town and I still stand by that.”
Harrison suggested the motion be amended so the $5,000 would come out of the town budget as a one-off item, rather than the COVID-19 grant.
Mayor Brian Wiese said he does not want to see the town spend large sums of money on the society, but he agreed on the $5,000.
The amended motion was carried unanimously and the funds will come out of the town budget.
The society signed a lease agreement with the town earlier this month and now has keys to the building.