Pictured, left to right: Brian Smith (Director, Cranbrook Food Bank Society), Stephanie Smith (President, BCGEU), Gerry Oviatt (Manager, Cranbrook Food Bank Society), Paul Finch (Treasurer, BCGEU), Sussanne Skidmore (Executive Vice-president, BCGEU), Kari Michaels (Executive Vice-president, BCGEU), Tracie Rallison (Cranbrook Food Bank Society), William McKerrow (Local Chair, BCGEU)

Pictured, left to right: Brian Smith (Director, Cranbrook Food Bank Society), Stephanie Smith (President, BCGEU), Gerry Oviatt (Manager, Cranbrook Food Bank Society), Paul Finch (Treasurer, BCGEU), Sussanne Skidmore (Executive Vice-president, BCGEU), Kari Michaels (Executive Vice-president, BCGEU), Tracie Rallison (Cranbrook Food Bank Society), William McKerrow (Local Chair, BCGEU)

Public sector union donates building to Food Bank

The Cranbrook Food Bank Society now owns the building on their property due to a generous donation from a union representing public sector workers employed by the provincial government.

The British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU), which had owned the building at 104 – 8th Ave. since 2013, were debating what to do with it at the provincial executive level, but didn’t want to interfere with food bank operations.

“When it came time for the BCGEU to decide what to do with the property the two immediate options were selling it or developing it,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. “The provincial executive quickly rejected both of those options. Either would have meant displacing the food bank society and we weren’t about to do that. So, instead, we decided to donate the building to the society.”

The BCGEU also paid the GST on the property gift to make sure the Food Bank society didn’t incur a financial burden on the exchange, according to the BCGEU.

Gerry Oviatt, the president of the Cranbrook Food Bank Society, says the organization has been using the building, which was assessed with a market value of $112,000, for the last 15 years.

“We sure appreciated the union coming forward and donating it to us,” said Oviatt.

In addition to the house, the Food Bank also has a warehouse in the industrial park.

For the last few years, the Food Bank has been considering looking at a different location as food bank operations are expanding due to increased need.

“There’s days right now where we’re making up hampers…that we actually run out of resources and space to handle what we’re actually doing,” Oviatt said. “But, still, it’s a great thing [building donation], and we like to make a public thing of it to make sure they’re recognized for donating it to us.”