A request by the Royal Canadian Legion for $7,500 from Renfrew council led to a debate on the need for a donation policy to follow when large financial requests are made.

During the May 23 council meeting, Mayor Tom Sidney informed council a request was made by the Legion president for assistance towards repairing the furnace. It recently malfunctioned and the estimated cost to repair the unit is $30,000.

“I was approached by the president of the Legion, and as all of us know they do some fabulous work in the community but they don’t have a lot of finances,” he explained. “Their furnace has broke and it was a $30,000 charge to them and it would be detrimental to the Legion. They probably will not be able to stay open without community support.”

He instructed the president, Bruce Ferguson, to send a letter to town staff. The letter was received and staff reviewed the request before it was brought before council.

Council Wants Policy in Place

Councilor Andrew Dick wasted no time in letting council know his position.

“Mayor Sidney, with all due respect, this is a lot to ask and to throw at us and to try and make a decision in five minutes,” he said. “So, I am not sure of the rules and regulations, but can we bypass this tonight so we have time to look at it?”

CAO Robert Tremblay informed Coun. Dick and the rest of council that a motion can be made to table the request for another meeting. 

Coun. Dick expressed hesitation voting on a request for such a large sum of money without any prior information.

Mr. Tremblay said a second option would be to send the letter to the Fire, Recreation and Corporate Services Committee, a committee chaired by Councillor Jason Legris and structured to best handle a request of this nature.

Reeve Peter Emon said he was not opposed to the request and a potential donation, but he wanted more information on the status of the furnace and what other potential large item repairs may be needed. 

“We have other significant buildings such as the Wing and the Armouries that are massive and also serve the community. Then we should have some type of policy in place,” he said. “We should have a budget line for this outlining the criteria required.”

He also recommended providing the Legion with other potential funding possibilities such as Enbridge Gas in order to reduce any amount the town may provide.

Mr. Tremblay said Councillor John McDonald has already started preliminary work on a funding policy and along with the Legion request, the Fire, Recreation and Corporate Services Committee would bring any recommendations to council for a vote.

Mayor Sidney said he did not expect council to vote on the issue immediately, but the letter was sent at his request and since it was addressed to him, he felt it best he bring the information to council.

The request was tabled and sent to committee for review.

By Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 02, 2023 at 09:25

This item reprinted with permission from   The Eganville Leader   Eganville, Ontario
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