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Campbell River council defeats motion to advance $10,000 to Loonies for Loggers

There won’t be another sizable donation coming to Loonies for Loggers from the City of Campbell River.

A motion from Councillor Ron Kerr, to advance another $10,000 from council contingency, was defeated by his colleagues at last night’s meeting.

It’s a reversal from the Dec. 16 meeting, when council members approved a $20,000 donation to the grassroots group that delivers groceries and other items to families impacted by the forestry workers strike.

“It wasn’t just a Christmas feel-good gesture that we provided to this group. I think it was also a message to the forestry community that we support them in this hard time,” Kerr said, before the vote. “This is an emergency short-term event that needs our support and unfortunately there is no one else right now that can fill the role that this organization does. I wish we could do more.”

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Mayor Andy Adams said, “we have had some discussion that there are some issues regarding funding from Loonies for Loggers, and as such, I would prefer to defer this round until we get some clarification, so I will have some trouble supporting the motion as it is.”

Councillor Claire Moglove said that while she appreciates the work that the organization is doing, she said she can’t support further funding from the city.

“We just, in the last motion, provided more than $100,000 to various social agencies based on a set of criteria that this council worked on for months and months and months,” Moglove said.

She said two of those criteria are that they must be a registered charity and must provide financial statements.

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“Those two things are key, so to provide more funding to an organization that (doesn’t) meet that criteria, I just can’t support.”

Moglove said the city “is not a social agency,” adding that there are many organizations in the community that are in need.

“People, in general, have the right to make their own decisions about who they provide their donations to, and even though we have gone down this path, if we go too much further, I think we are in a position of usurping the general public’s ability to choose what charitable organizations they want to donate money to,” Moglove said.

“So I can’t support any further funding going to this particular organization. It’s not the only one in need, and we just don’t have the resources to provide money  to every organization.”

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Councillor Charlie Cornfield said council needs to advocate for a solution that will put an end to the nearly eight-month-long forestry strike, and puts people back to work.

“I think if we could spend the money doing that, it would be far better spent there, so I don’t really support (the motion),” he said.

Councillor Colleen Evans said it’s the role of council to ensure that funds are spent in a responsible way.

“I just feel that at this point, without having two criteria that were established as part of social grants – one being a not-for-profit organization, and the second one in regards to financial accountability – I cannot support this additional contribution.”

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Meanwhile, Loonies for Loggers continues to receive support from Campbell River residents.

Its fundraiser BBQ held at Brandt Tractor last Saturday raised just under $11,900 for the cause.

About Loonies for Loggers

Rona Doucette and Tamara Meggitt started Loonies For Loggers in September, to show their support to the families on Vancouver Island impacted by the forestry workers strike.

The labour dispute between the United Steelworkers Union and Western Forest Products is approaching the eight-month mark and is impacting 3,000 coastal forestry workers.

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