St. Mary’s first holiday community grants awarded

·2 min read

ST. MARY’S – In a stiff competition that saw 11 applicants, five local non-profits have received the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s first holiday grants for, in the opinion of councillors, making the community a better place to live and work.

The recipients, who were notified in mid-December and will share the $9,000 fund, are: Seashore Volunteer Fire Dept and Seashore Fire Auxiliary, Sonora Community Centre St. Mary’s Genealogy Research Center at Sherbrooke Village, Stillwater Community Club, and St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Their approved projects, requiring financial support beyond their resources, included improvements to infrastructure and services.

According to St. Mary’s Chief Administrative Officer David Hutten, it was a difficult decision.

“Upon recognition of the amount of applications and need, council increased the funding from $4,000 to $9,000,” he said. “This is a reinvestment into the community to help grow programs and facilities that are needed right now.”

Council introduced the inaugural holiday community grant following a pitch by Director of Finance Marian Fraser in November.

“While preparing her second-quarter review of financial statements, she took a little extra time and creativity to find places where funding could be provided for such initiatives,” Hutten said at the time. “To give back at a time like this is special, and to have council and staff work collectively to offer this gift is special.”

Council found the money to finance the program through its penny pinching – specifically, a higher-than-expected surplus in municipal coffers thanks to unused money for council travel and events spending during Covid.

Said Hutten: “We hope to grow from this and continue the positive return to our community… giving back each year, if possible.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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