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Over $100,000 for community organizations to be doled out soon

April 24, 2020   ·   0 Comments

The Town of New Tecumseth is ironing out the final details of its 2020 Community Grant Program, where it gives local organizations a financial boost in an effort to promote arts, culture, tourism, and community events.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, a report recommended that just over $115,000 be distributed to roughly 40 community organizations, but it was shot down to allow the selection committee to reconvene in an attempt to find savings for the Town.

“There’s a plethora of fantastic projects that are being undertaken in our community and I think everyone would agree that now more than ever is a good time for us to tighten our belts, and pay attention to the details,” said Ward 7 Councillor Shira Harrison-McIntyre.

“I was wondering if there’s a couple of opportunities for us to save a little bit of coin here and there.”

For example, when looking at the Tottenham Community Garden’s request of funding to purchase gardening equipment, Harrison-McIntyre said the Town should see if the group can utilize their existing machinery.

She also noted that the Alliston Horticulture Society was set to receive a grant for $1,000 while the Tottenham and Beeton Horticulture Society have one for $2,000.

Harrison-McIntyre noted that this isn’t something anyone should be picky about, but she had questions about the extra $1,000 after analyzing their investments and bank balances.

Meanwhile, Ward 4 Councillor Fran Sainsbury, said she’s concerned that Procyon Wildlife requested $2,000 but is only receiving $1,000.

With the current COVID-19 restrictions, Procyon will be unable to bring on student volunteers through the summer and will face challenges affording the medical supplies used to treat animals, she explained.

Sainsbury also requested that funding for the South Simcoe Railway in Tottenham be reconsidered as they were denied for submitting their application after the February 29 deadline.

She said the railway’s accountant passed away prior to their submission which made it difficult to access certain documentation necessary to apply.

Generally, when the Heritage Train is in operation, it has a revenue stream, but with the Province’s closures caused by COVID-19, it could be out of an income for a prolonged period of time.

Sainsbury said the insurance for the railway is $6,000 a month, which is a large expenditure, so she requested that they receive $10,000 from the 2020 Community Grant Program.

“We don’t want to see that go under. It’s been there for 30 years and they’ve had almost one million people who have ridden on that train,” she noted.

Ward 2 Councillor Michael Beattie said Contact South Simcoe, who requested $5,000 and was denied, should receive funding.

In the past, the organization has run special seniors’ crafts programs and while the pandemic prevents these types of activities from occurring in person, the format of events is slowly shifting.

“A lot of my Colleagues at CLASS [Community Living Association South Simcoe] are coming up with new ways and means of delivering programs,” Beattie noted.

He said they’re getting creative, whether its arts and culture, crafts, activities, volunteerism, or participating in activities.

“I think that Contact… could do something really meaningful for seniors when this is all over and they could probably use some of those funds to come up with some interim things that could engage the community,” Councillor Beattie said.

The 2020 Community Grant Program’s selection committee will now review Council’s feedback and search for potential cost savings before bringing forward a new report at a future Council meeting.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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