Grant requests receive different responses

ARICHAT: Two grant requests from community groups in Richmond County received different reactions from councillors.

During the November 27 meeting of Richmond Municipal Council, Deputy Warden Jason MacLean brought forward a request from the L’Ardoise Men’s Club for a $5,000 municipal grant.

District 1 councillor James Goyetche voted against the request, explaining that grants should only be approved for groups who demonstrate a need, noting that the municipality wants to get away from contributing to groups with financial means. He said the Men’s Club does not fit within this new criteria.

Warden Brian Marchand responded that there is no policy in place but municipal staff has been asked to review the grant structure.

District 2 councillor Alvin Martell explained that staff was asked to look at all grant requests across the board. He said the municipality was giving out $1 million per year in grants to non-profits and approximately $200,000 per year on infrastructure grants.

“What was happening was people were accessing two or three different pools of money for the same project,” he said.

“It would be limited to a group, to one project per year, a cap on the project. Whether the money would come from the infrastructure fund or other funds, it depends on how we would roll out the grants.”

Although there are many groups and facilities in need, like community halls, Martell said the grant requests are getting out of hand.

“It’s hard to say to a community hall, ‘we can’t help you,’ but at the same time, you have to be fiscally responsible from a municipal perspective,” Martell said. “Instead of $1 million worth of grants, I don’t think there’s another county or town that’s doing that. We’re getting out of hand, really.”

A request of $5,000 for the Isle Madame ATV Riders Association received a different response.

Marchand said because the group hosts activities that help the economy, including poker runs and rallies which bring many visitors to the county, the tourism fund would be an appropriate source of funding.

Even though he supports capping the amount of money handed out for grants, Martell added that the ATV Riders group does a lot of good in the municipality and he also supported their request.

Despite the varying reactions, both funding requests were approved.