RDN increasing Gabriola recreation contract by $8,000

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, November 28 2018

The Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to supplement annual grant funding received by the Gabriola Recreation Society (GRS) from the Canada Summer Jobs program for their Summer Student Coordinator position to a maximum combined total of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

Kyle Clifford, President of the Gabriola Recreation Society, presented as a delegation to the RDN Committee of the Whole on Tues., Nov. 20.

Clifford explained that while the core funding paid to the GRS by the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) for running recreation programs on Gabriola has not changed, there has been a fluctuation in recent years in the funding received through the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program.

There has not, however, been a corresponding decrease in the demand for programming offered by the GRS. The GRS has had to supplement summer staff wages through the core funding.

The request for the $8,000, if approved, will allow the GRS to maintain the current level of programming and provide a competitive wage for staff.

RDN staff confirmed that the increase would allow the GRS to offer $20/hr wage to summer staff, a wage on par with similar positions in the RDN.

Funding for the supplement will come from the same tax function through which the RDN contracts the GRS to plan and implement community recreation on Gabriola Island.

The current Recreation Services Agreement (Attachment 2) between the RDN and the Gabriola Recreation Society is set to expire December 31, 2020. The existing contract pays the GRS $77,161 for the years between 2018 and 2020.

With the $8,000 requested, that amount would increase to $85,161 for 2019 and 2020.

Tom Osborne, RDN Parks Manager, said funds not spent at the end of each contract year are transferred into a reserves account.

Vanessa Craig, RDN Director for Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy), congratulated the GRS “on an amazing array of programming.”

She asked if the GRS is still intending to apply for the grant funding.

Clifford said “that’s the intent - this would be a supplement. Varies from year to year - without knowing the funding in advance, it is difficult to do the hiring.”

Osborne clarified for the RDN Board that the funding for the GRS (including the increase) comes only from the taxpayers of Gabriola Island, it is not a service funded by the RDN as a whole.

The $8,000 funding request has been included in the 2019 Preliminary Budget for the Gabriola Recreation Services function.

The budget will be included in the deliberations at the next RDN Board meeting, to be held on December 4.