Letter: Rejection Of Community Hall Initiatives

Tuesday, September 19 2017

To Howard Houle, Director, Area B RDN

We were disappointed you denied our two initiatives at the RDN.

Emergency Reception Centre (ERC)

You voted in favour of moving the ERC from the Hall to the United Church, although we offered to fund the difference in cost of installing a generator at the Hall, and agreed to RDN selection and ownership of the generator. Our offers removed the RDN staff’s reasons for recommending the Church which could have enabled you to vote in favour of the greater facilities and popularity of the Hall.

Petition

You also rejected our petition for Hall Tax Funding. Most of your reasons came from quotes and anecdotes gathered from our correspondence, website and other sources.  As you said, some of our information was inaccurate, but during the Petition Process we have continuously adjusted the details so it was correct when we sought signatures. We used your wording for our petition.

You quoted total revenue from the Salmon BBQ as evidence of adequate funding, but did not adjust for expenses. You claimed that signatories were coerced without noting the invitation in the Sounder for anyone to remove their names through our website.

During our signature collection process, you introduced a request for a business case. As you know from our August 28themail and The Sounder September 5th, and our website, we started to engage public input on how best to use any funds should our petition prove successful. We did not expect you would make lack of business case another reason for rejection. 

We asked to meet with you ahead of the RDN meeting to address any issues you might have.  You declined but we felt confident of the support you promised at our Board meeting on condition that at least 800 Gabriola property owners signed within two weeks. 

In that time,  1,100 Gabriolans signed support for raising $40,000 annually from property taxes for the Hall’s general revenue fund. We thank you for your subsequent offer to help find funds for individual projects at the Hall, and we may take you up on that.  But our petition is for longer term and stable funding. 

Sincerely

Joyce Babula, Richard Strachan, Laurie McDonald, Ute Ewert, Peter Jones,
Alessandro Iachelli. Gabriola Island Community Hall Association