The use of fees for groups using Rotary Park and Spirit Square was up for discussion during Monday night’s city council meeting, though council took the middle ground.
The discussion began after Cranbrook Dance Connection requested assistance by way of waiving the fee and a grant to help pay performers.
Randy Tapp, from Cranbrook Dance Connection said he wishes to continue to provide a way for residents and tourists to recreate. Tapp also requested a $200-per-evening grant to give musicians, as he said that while it offers them some exposure, it does cover them.
The request for contributions, along with a number of others in the night’s meeting, caused council to debate the merits of having fees.
Coun. Gerry Warner, wondered what the point of having fees was when council seems to waive the fee for almost any group that asks.
“I just look through here tonight and we have seven requests for donations or waiving of the fees,” he said, noting the Spirit Square Concert Series, the arts council, Cranbrook Dance Connection and the Mount Baker Robotics Club. “This waiving of the fees for the park, is seems we wave it for anyone who asks, then why do we have the fee?”
Warner thought there should be a more organized way of dealing with the requests, as opposed to dealing with them as they come in.
Mayor Wayne Stetski said he thought of that as well, and noted that having groups come to council to ask allows for some discretion to say yes or no to the requests.
No councillor was against contributing to what council agreed were worthy causes and the dance night met the bill, as it brings people to the park and livens up the city. Council ended up deciding to contribute $100 per performance, for a total of $430.
Coun. Diana J. Scott said that is exactly what she was thinking.
“It’s very difficult to sit up here, because everything that comes before us is a great idea and of course we want to support everything,” Scott said. “It’s hard to say no sometimes so I think this is a good happy medium.”
Coun. Bob Whetham said bringing in life to the park is exactly what they want to do.
Council also decided to contribute $300 to the Mount Baker Robotics Club for their trip to nationals in Vancouver, as well as the Spirit Square fees for the Art in The Park event in August.