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Cadets get cold shoulder from city council
Kamloops cadet corps will have to look elsewhere as they attempt to replace a burnt-out furnace at their Briar Avenue hall, after city council rejected its request for a loan.
The Kamloops Cadet Society needs to raise $8,000 to replace the furnace, which director Linda Ingalls said is beyond repair.
The three cadet corps who use the hall are fundraising for a replacement but, in a letter to city council, Ingalls said the society was also looking to the city for help, given the rapid approach of winter.
“If we cannot heat this building, then we will not be able to let the cadets use the building,” she wrote.
“If they cannot use the building, then they will not have a place to use for the next training year.”
The building is used nearly every day, she said, by 150 cadets between the ages of nine and 18.
The society was seeking a $4,000 loan from the city, so it could qualify for a Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund grant, which requires groups to have half the funding for projects already committed.
However, several councillors worried the loan, which would have come out of council’s contingency fund, would set a worrisome precedent.
Coun. Nancy Bepple said handing out a grant, even a repayable one, for building maintenance could lead to other local organizations letting repairs slide, then coming to council for help.
Coun. Pat Wallace said she supports the group's work, but didn't like that the society bypassed the city's service agreement committee when looking for funding.
“This isn’t what we’re here for,” added Coun. Tina Lange. “We’re not the charity, we’re not the bank. It’s a no-interest loan that will be paid back, but there’s other places where they should be looking for that money.”
Mayor Peter Milobar said the Kamloops Cadet Society is experiencing the kind of extenuating circumstances the contingency fund is meant to cover.
“I don’t think you can plan for a furnace to catch on fire,” he said. “I understand the angst around it. I would be fully not supporting this had it been a long-term chronic problem that had been plaguing them.
But, we’re heading into winter, it’s a furnace, and I don’t think they have the luxury of time to start channelling this into the service agreement committee.”
Council decided not to grant the cadets a loan, with councillors Ken Christian, Pat Wallace, Nelly Dever, Bepple and Lange voting against the request.