News

Terrace, BC ski co-op gets $15,000 from city enterprise

THE LOCAL ski cooperative buying the Shames Mountain ski facility will only be getting half the grant money it requested from the City of Terrace for 2013.

My Mountain Co-op had wanted $15,000 from the city directly and $15,000 from the profits of a logging operation managed by the city.

City council members endorsed the $15,000 from the city's community forest profits but not a direct grant itself, citing the precedence of giving the co-op $15,000 a year for the past two years.

Council debate about whether or not to approve both grants revolved around the appropriateness of a public body consistently subsidizing a private, although non-profit community-based recreational enterprise.

Council members also noted the co-op is receiving other financial assistance from the city consisting of a $1,275 tax exemption and free office space valued at $7,740.

"I think they're the only group that has tapped into every kind of granting or social charity the city does," pointed out councillor Stacey Tyers, adding the co-op is an independent enterprise with a social model based on volunteerism. "Under no other circumstance would council consider keeping something like that afloat."

Councillor Lynne Christiansen asked what baseline was set with the co-op when it first applied for money, receiving the response that the city had said the group could apply yearly under the community grants section for $15,000.

"I think that you should hold at that and not increase it another $15,000," said Christiansen said of the co-op's grant request. "And we give them notice next year that we start to peel that back."

Councillor James Cordeiro added that if the city were to approve a second $15,000 grant, 2013's financial support would amount to nearly $40,000, which amount is .4 per cent of the city's entire tax-base revenues.

But councillor Brian Downie said he thinks it's too soon to start pulling back financial support for the co-op, adding its still in its early stages and hasn't had the time to prove its viable for the long term.

The reason the city agreed to support the co-op in the first place was that it's important to the community, and that hasn't changed, he said.

After looking at the group's financial statements, Brian Downie said a small profit from last year's operations was created but that money to generate that profit came from external financial support.

"Our funding was important to create that," he said.

Statements for a financial year which concluded the end of June had the co-op showing a net profit of $23,649. Those same statements also showed fundraising brought in $259,904.

The co-op will use the $15,000 grant to buy a more efficient generator for Shames Mountain.

The Terrace Off Road Mountain Bike Association received $5,000 to extend the Steinhoe Ridge Trail and the Terrace Community Foundation received $10,000 from the community forest to round off the $30,000 profit distribution.

"The Terrace Community Forest was created with the intention of supporting our community," said Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski in a press release. "It is very gratifying to see that organization make profits which are going right back into Terrace."

City staffers, in presenting the list of financial assistance requests, did not recommend council approve of the direct $15,000 grant wanted by the co-op.

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