Canada Day grants stir debate

ARICHAT: The issue of funding for Canada Day celebrations across Richmond County aroused debate at the council table.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on May 27 in Arichat, Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand said after advertising for interested applicants, the municipality received nine applications for Canada Day grants, totalling $15,200. The CAO told council $15,000 was originally budgeted for the grants, which comes out to roughly $3,000 per municipal district.

District 1 councillor James Goyetche moved the acceptance of the grants, and District 5 councillor Jason MacLean seconded the motion.

District 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher was unhappy that the grants are over-budget.

“I feel that $15,000 is a lot of money to be put out for Canada Day and we’ve always met that target and I don’t feel we should go over that target,” Boucher said.

Warden Brian Marchand said one applicant from his district did not apply, and if they do not make a formal application, he proposed moving money around within his district.

“If some districts don’t spend the money, then it can be moved around,” he proposed to council.

Goyetche said if applicants cannot prove how they are spending money, they should not be eligible for the same amounts of money each year.

“If some districts don’t spend the money, that means they don’t need it,” Goyetche told council, noting the Canada Day celebration at LeNoir Landing in Arichat alone spends $6,000 annually.

Deputy Warden Alvin Martell asked whether there were any changes to the applications or applicants from last year, to explain the increase. He also asked what the provincial contribution is, to which the warden replied that the funding from the province is for fireworks, and the municipality’s funding pays for activities. The motion to approve the Canada Day grants was approved