Big Valley council considers Metis request, bumped to future meeting

·3 min read

Big Valley village council tabled part of a grant request from a Métis organization after it was deemed more information was needed. The decision was made at the Sept. 8 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative officer (CAO) Elaine Macdonald presented a request from the Hivernant Métis Cultural Society to help out a major event the group was planning for July 29 to 31, 2022 but apparently has been rescheduled.

“The Hivernant Métis Cultural Society has extended an invitation to Mayor (Dan) Houle to attend its first Hivernant Rendezvous since the COVID pandemic forced the postponement of this annual celebration of Métis history and culture,” stated the society’s letter dated June 13, 2022.

“The society is very pleased to be able to bring back this event which it had presented for 16 years.

“I’m writing to ask if you could request that your staff arrange for several things that the village has done in the past to facilitate the rendezvous.

The requests included a $500 grant from FCSS funds, use of Memorial Park for a teepee and tents and use of an area near the ball diamonds for camping and tenting.

Macdonald clarified the event was postponed from its original July 29 to 31 dates and the Hivernant Society hasn't provided the new dates.

Mayor Dan Houle suggested council table the requests until a new date was selected.

Macdonald noted that the Hivernant Society should meet the cultural criteria of the FCSS grant guidelines.

Coun. Amber Hoogenberg wasn’t sure council was allowed to grant the FCSS funds if all details of an event aren’t provided, but added she didn’t see any problems with the society's other requests.

It was noted the request for camping space probably should be forwarded to the Ag Society.

Councillors decided to approve the resolution to permit the Hivernant Society to use Memorial Park between Sept. 8 and Nov. 8. They also passed a resolution to table the request for FCSS funds until the society can provide a date for the event.

Street dance denial

Councillors unanimously denied a request for FCSS funding for an annual street dance after they agreed the event didn’t fall under funding criteria.

Macdonald presented a letter from organizers of the annual Big Valley street dance which requested $5,000 in FCSS funds to help cover expenses for the event.

“There is $2,019 in a holding account the village has which houses donations people/companies have made to various entities within the village that is earmarked for the street dance,” stated Macdonald in her report to council.

The CAO provided FCSS funding criteria to councillors and Mayor Houle stated he wasn’t sure where the street dance would fall in the criteria.

Macdonald stated it seemed the street dance didn’t fall into the criteria at all because FCSS funds aren’t allowed to be spent on entertainment or recreation activities. It was noted the street dance was held in August.

Councillors decided to deny the request.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review