The best things during winter are warm beverages to heat the body and warm companionship to soothe the soul.
A recent deputation to Tiny Township council by an informal women’s coffee and conversation group won a request to have the Wyebridge Community Centre available in the winter months for some members just wanting to come in from the cold, pending availability.
As approved through the committee of the whole, the group will need to be charged a senior rate of $12.50 for a maximum of three hours, plus insurance fees, as space is available.
In the initial deputation of August, Wyebridge residents Helen Kirouac and Trish Hines explained to members of Tiny council that the small interior of the village’s only restaurant had left them and their friends without a place to congregate once a week for coffee and conversation.
As such, they asked the municipality to waive fees at the Wyebridge Community Centre so their informal group could get together in the cold months. Their request included access to a room as well as the kitchen to make coffee or reheat food.
While the Wyebridge Community Centre can host a maximum capacity of 232 without alcohol (or 200 with alcohol), the standard rental of any facility in Tiny would cost a $75 deposit with requirement to be put onto the insurance policy.
The matter returned to the recent committee of the whole, where public works director Tim Leitch noted various reduced costs for groups within the township’s programming or for external groups.
“We do have a standard rate guide that is developed every year,” explained Leitch. “Our rate is very low for what we have. We have to clean the facility after every time, and I know some say; ‘we don’t make a mess’, but we can't take that risk, and we have to make sure garbages are emptied.
“The halls are surprisingly used – not just weekends and weddings – they are used a lot during the week; whether it be our programming that we use or individuals that rent for their own personal use.”
Leitch added: “And I'll be honest, a lot of time it doesn't even cover the cleaning costs when people are just going in for an hour. Those are the types of overhead that we have to maintain and we have to pay for, otherwise we lose money on these adventures for these types of facilities.”
During the discussion as members of the committee leaned away from granting full access and charging corporate rates, the reiteration of using kitchen facilities caused municipal staff to urge caution.
Further assurances were made to ensure the women’s group wouldn’t be taking priority over any other rentals; that they wouldn’t be using the facility outside municipal hours for staff time purposes; and that it would only be available subject to the Wyebridge Community Centre being accessible throughout winter in times of inclement weather.
Coun. Walma expressed appreciation to staff for the explanations on facility costs, whether big or small.
“This is obviously council providing a service to the community as well,” said Walma, “so I'm happy with that concept since these are also in-kind contributions… understanding there's a real cost to in-kind contributions.”
With the large number of requirements for the group being drawn up, Deputy Mayor Sean Miskimins and Mayor David Evans quipped that there would be a three-page resolution as a result of the relatively simple request.
The motion was passed unanimously, with expectation that the formal approval would be addressed at an upcoming regular meeting of council.
As stated by Hines in the initial deputation, the informal group has extended an open invitation for the women of Wyebridge wanting to drop in during those cold winter days when the group meets.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.
Editor's note: This story was first published on September 27. This version corrects the status of the restaurant.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca