South Algonquin Township Committee of Adjustment discusses SABA funding request
A discussion on the South Algonquin Business Alliance’s request for funding at the township council meeting on April 5 was on the agenda at the South Algonquin committee of adjustment meeting on April 12. They decided to recommend not giving SABA the $5,000 (or a figure higher or lower at council’s discretion) they had asked for, but helping them out in other ways they’d requested, including helping them procure grant funding, having the SABA QR code on the township wayfinding maps and signs, and an in-person seat at the table for discussions that impact local businesses. The committee will bring forward its recommendations to council at the May 3 meeting. The South Algonquin committee of adjustment had their meeting on April 12 and the chair, Councillor Joe Florent, introduced the discussion on SABA’s request for funding and other items. At the April 5 meeting, SABA chair Angela Pollak introduced the organization to the new council, led them through SABA’s achievements over the past five years and requested $5,000 in funding from the township to help them continue their work. In addition to funding, she’d also asked for the SABA QR code on the local maps and signs, and an in-person seat at the table for discussions that impact local businesses. She said they were also happy with in-kind support like letters of support, partnerships on future projects, material or maintenance, mapping assistance, and other resources as available.
Florent began the discussion on April 12 by saying he didn’t feel comfortable using taxpayers’ money to make a donation to SABA of $5,000 or any amount, and asked for the committee’s input. The chair of the township’s economic development committee, Councillor Shawn Pigeon agreed;
“I have a hard time giving out this kind of money when we’ve just told out taxpayers that their taxes are going up five per cent. That’s a bitter pill to swallow,” he says.
While the committee decided not to approve SABA’s request for the $5,000 or any amount of money, they did propose helping out SABA with a strategic partnership with the township, by helping them procure grants that the township may have access to but SABA may not. This was based upon a suggestion by Bryan Martin, the CAO/clerk-treasurer.
“So there may be some strategic alliances that could be made in this part of the process that wouldn’t take it out of the taxpayers’ pocket,” he says.
The committee also approved SABA’s request to have their QR code on the township’s Wayfinding Map, so that people looking at the map could scan the code and be diverted directly to the SABA website at www.mysouthalgonquin.ca.
As for SABA’s request to have a seat at the township’s economic development committee meetings, the committee also approved this ask, and thought that the person who would have a seat at the table would be at SABA’s discretion. Pigeon thought it would be good to have SABA and other businesses (not affiliated with SABA) involved with the committee going forward for it to achieve its full potential for the township’s economic development going forward.
The committee also suggested that they could reference SABA and its accomplishments in the township’s Spring newsletter and encourage local businesses to take a look at the organization and think about joining them.
So overall, the committee decided not to give SABA the $5,000 or any amount of money from the township’s taxpayers, but would ask SABA to have a look at municipal grant policies and make a request for a specific grant, which the township could then look into and procure on their behalf. The committee also approved having the SABA QR code on the township’s wayfinding map, and they said they’d mention SABA and its accomplishments in their spring newsletter and encourage local businesses to have a look at and consider joining SABA. With that consensus, the committee moved on to other matters.
All recommendations from the committee of adjustment regarding SABA will be brought forward to council at their next meeting on May 3 for possible implementation by council.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times