The Community Grant Review Committee is setting down to work to see which community groups will benefit from their yearly grants.
All of the usual suspects are there and they will likely receive the same amount as last year and that’s as it should be. Many community groups and associations are dependent on grants to carry on their business. But what should be looked at with sober reflection are those groups coming forward to ask for funding when they are not really local and their mandate is broader than just Sooke. It is after all, Sooke taxpayers who make the money available in the first place.
If a society, group or organization can’t support itself without grants in aid, should taxpayers be responsible to ensure they carry on?
The district gives out approximately $65,000 in monies to various communty groups. At this latest intake of new applications the committee is looking at new funding requests for $46,000. The applicants are as diverse as a bipolar disorder society, requesting $10,000 and a dialogue and resolution services society requesting $4,000. WildSafe is requesting $7,000 and the Sooke Sailing Assoc. wants $7,000. The Sooke Academy of Music wants $7,000 as does the Sooke Harbour Players. And there are others wanting smaller amounts.
Should the District of Sooke have to be responsible for all of these? Should our taxpayer money go to groups with little visibility in Sooke? Should we subsidize everything that comes across the desk? The obvious answer is no. When the economy is wobbly and the future uncertain, council needs to carefuly consider where the dollars are going. Just because it is election time doesn’t mean we need to try and please everyone. There are hard choices to make and council needs to show they are fiscally smart and prudent. The bank account doesn’t need to be drained.