Port Alberni City Council has waived more than $1,000 in rental fees charged to the Royal Canadian Legion for Glenwood Centre to hold Remembrance Day ceremonies next month.
Legion officials made the request to council at their Tuesday meeting.
The fees consisted of a $500 rental and setup fee as well as a $500 post-maintenance fee.
According to a letter from Legion Brach 293 president Tim Murphy, paying $1,000 out of the legion’s poppy fund would restrict the amount of money the legion could donate to various Alberni Valley charities.
The ceremony was previously held at the 700-seat ADSS auditorium, which has since been closed along with the rest of the school.
Plans were made to hold this year’s ceremony in the auditorium of the new high school on Roger Street. But on Sept. 20 high school principal Mike Ruttan informed the legion that the auditorium wouldn’t be finished in time.
The legion managed to book Glenwood Centre at the last moment. But the window to apply for the city’s grant in lieu program that would cancel out the fee had closed.
The legion should still be exempted from paying the fee because they had originally rented Glenwood in time to apply for the program, but cancelled when it was thought that the new high school auditorium would be available, Legion Br. 293 member Ron Simpson said.
The ceremonies were usually standing room only at the old auditorium. “It’s been that way for many years,” Simpson said.
Glenwood was the only place available on short notice, Simpson said. “There’s a basketball tournament at the Athletic Hall that week so it’s not available,” he said.
Simpson didn’t know the seating capacity at the new high school but said arrangements could be made to seat an overflow of people from the auditorium in the gym and view the ceremony via video feed.
The old auditorium on Burde Street hasn’t been torn down yet but is unavailable. “We were told that everything like lights and the sound system has been stripped out already,” Simpson said.