Tourism association is funded by more than one source

Issues of funding sources cleared up by regional director

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director, Mike Hicks, wants to clear up any misunderstanding in regard to monies granted to the Sooke Region Tourism Association (SRTA).

He states, via email, that the Juan de Fuca was a founding member of SRTA and has contributed $7,000 per year to the association.

“That amounts to one-third of the Sooke contribution which we thought was appropriate,” said Hicks.

The issue of funding for both SRTA and the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce was brought forward at the regular District of Sooke council meeting on July 25.

Mayor Wendal Milne had requested the Fee for Service Agreement and work plans for the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce and Sooke Region Tourism Association from the Economic Development Commission.

The Finance and Administration Committee has been reviewing all District of Sooke contracts and the grants given to community groups and associations. This is one of the mandates outlined by Milne during the election.

At the EDC meeting on July 18, chair Maja Tait stated council has concerns as to their funding requests and will not be releasing funds until council reviewed the issue.

At that EDC meeting, according to the minutes, Jonathan Heerema, from SRTA, stated the decision was “negligent.” He also said these groups depended on the funding to help bring people to the community and spend money. He also said there was no economic value in purchasing a $20,000 webcam. (In actuality the webcam would cost $6,325 plus other expenses for a total less than $10,000).

Heerema said SRTA receives funding from the province ($23,000) through the Community Tourism Opportunities grant. They have, in the past, received $20,000 from the District of Sooke.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, in a report of measurables given to council on July 25, requested an additional $7,000 for the work they do.