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General News · 20th January 2010
SCCA Board of Directors
January 2010

Dear SCCA Members and Cortes Island Residents,

The Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA) has submitted the 2010 grant application to the BC Government Gaming Branch and an answer is expected in mid February. The Board of the SCCA is very concerned this grant funding will not be approved as other similar grant applications have been refused this year. The ongoing operation of Mansonís Hall relies extensively on Gaming Branch funding for programs.

An information meeting is scheduled for January 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Mansonís Hall so that the SCCA society members and the public can learn more details about the financial problems facing Mansonís Hall, ask questions, and make suggestions about the financial needs of Mansonís Hall.

For the past 51 years the Mansonís Community Hall has been the centre of Cortes Island for programs, events and services for preschoolers to seniors. It is a meeting place, an education facility and home to community non-profit organizations and community services. Mansonís Hall is operated by the Southern Cortes Community Association and administered by a board of community volunteers.

And over the past 51 years many, many hours of volunteer time and a great quantity of donated materials and equipment has gone into creating Mansonís Hall as it stands now. The new building codes, insurance requirements and government regulation have changed over the years so that certified professionals, with specialized materials, are now often required to complete maintenance and upgrades to the building and equipment.

The programs and services directly provided by Mansonís Hall include the Playschool, Parents and Tots, Friday Market, Thrift Store, Cortes Day, Annual Community Dinner, Halloween Fireworks, Skate Board Park, and the Summer Youth Program. Mansonís Hall and property provides leased space for Cortes Island Seniors, Canada Post Office, Vancouver Island Library, North Island College, FOCI, Cafť, Pottery Studio, Teen Szene, Reel Youth and CES. Under the umbrella of the SCCA are the public recreation programs held at the Cortes Public school, the Theatre Group and the food bank program. Mansonís Community Cemetery, located on Cemetery Road, is owned and managed by the SCCA and maintained by volunteers.

The relay tower for Knowledge Network, located at the Cortes Island South Fire Hall, is owned by the SCCA. Twincomm Communications has located their wireless internet equipment fiber optics interchange from Telus on the tower and in exchange for this, provide wireless internet accesses for the public at Mansonís Hall and maintain Knowledge Network.

Grant funding from the BC Government Gaming Branch (lottery) has made it possible to provide a vibrant community centre and funds the salary of the Hall Manager and office administrative costs plus many of the ongoing programs. The Playschool space is provided free to a management Parent Committee and the program is subsidized from the Gaming Branch as are the Parents and Tots and the Summer Youth Programs. The Gaming Grant has allowed for great expansion of ongoing year round recreation programs and paid for new acquisitions such as a piano, stage curtains and a movie screen.

Long and short term lease charges have been kept as low as possible to encourage many community programs which can not exist if the fees were higher. Increasing short and long term lease amounts can not make up the financial shortfall and will force many programs to be cancelled and services withdrawn. The income from leases pays for the day to day maintenance of the hall Ė heating oil, small repairs and replacements, hydro, janitorial, the water purification system and the parking lot and property.

An application has also been submitted to the Strathcona Regional District for core funding as community halls operating in both the Strathcona and Comox Valley Regional Districts already receive tax based funding for programming, administration and facility maintenance. The Alternative Approval Process Bylaw allows for a maximum amount of $160,000 but the amount that will be required by Mansonís Hall to continue operating at the current level, if the Gaming Branch grant is not approved, is just over $34,000.

The Board of Directors, Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA)
SRD Funding Proposal - September 2009
Comment by Jenny Hiebert on 20th January 2010
Reading the funding proposal to the Strathcona Regional District for Taxpayer Based Funding submitted by the SCCA on September 21, 2009 states the SCCA woul dbe requesting a larger amount for this year.
This quote is from Page 14 of that report : "Requisitioned funds are budgeted to start at $66,000 in the year beginning 2010." Rational for this number is found earlier in the report. That amount is needed for $20,000 maintenance repair and $35,404 to increase current staff hours and increase the staff by two additional positions. This actually totals $55.404. Which leaves a balance of $10,596 of possible requisitioned funds without explanation. You now state you only need $34,000. So would this cover? Maintenance? Staff? or Programs? And why is there such a discrepancy between the numbers you present to the public and the ones you presented to the regional district as a rational for a tax to fund your organization? Also, does this mean your five year budget numbers (page 19) need to be halved as well?