City council rejects Kuu-us compromise

Alberni city councillors have rejected a compromise to help the Kuu-us Crisis Line Society deliver its outreach program from city facilities

City councillors have rejected a compromise to help the Kuu-us Crisis Line Society deliver its weekend outreach program from municipally owned facilities.

City human resource manager Theresa Kingston had recommended providing Kuu-us with a $1,000 credit to help them rent city facilities — up to 15 a year — for use with their weekend program.The credit would have been underwritten by the Community Investment Program, which carried forward a small surplus from last year.

Councillors weren’t even willing to move the motion in order to discuss it. Instead, Coun. Cindy Solda suggested Kuu-us apply for assistance through the Community Investment Program in 2013. Three councillors voted against her motion but it still passed.

A lot of other societies use city facilities, Solda said. “They all have to pay. Other societies have to pay.”

There are other groups who feed people, several of whom provide a bag of groceries that can tide over the weekend, she said. Solda said she asked Bread Of Life officials if Kuu-us ever approached them and BOL said no.

Kuu-us officials appeared before council two weeks ago, appealing a June decision denying free use of city facilities on Saturday nights to provide a meal and program information to people.

At a subsequent meeting with city officials Kuu-us identified Echo Centre and Echo Park Fieldhouse as being suitable for their needs. They rejected using Gyro Centre because they feel it is too far from their ideal location.

Kingston noted in her report that use of Echo Centre was problematic because the centre is often booked for weddings and fundraising events, and rental groups must pay for a commissionaire to be present.

Just using Echo “would use up the entire Community Investment Program for 2013,” Kingston said.

The fieldhouse is problematic as well but for different reasons, she said. Kuu-us requires kitchen facilities to cook meals. While the fieldhouse has a concession, it’s used by other groups, whose supplies would have to be constantly moved. A number of Saturday evenings have already been booked. Use of the facility would not include use of the concession.

Coun. Jack McLeman asked Monday if Kuu-us had approached other members of the Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness to see if they had suitable space.

Mayor John Douglas rejected the idea of giving Kuu-us money from the Community Investment Program this year because they had the opportunity to apply like everyone else but didn’t.

“I have difficulty with them not going through the process,” he said. “They should attend the workshop in September and go through the process.”

The group also needs to fundraise in order to underwrite its projects.

“There’s the Kiwanis and Lions. Have they approached them — no, they haven’t asked for money from anyone,” Solda said.

Kuu-us now owns the former armoury site on Johnston Road. “They have their own building. They have a full kitchen in their facility,” Solda said.

Calls for applications to the Community Investment Fund are going out now, Kingston said. An orientation workshop is in September and a grant application deadline is in November. A final decision about applications takes place in December.

Kuu-us officials hadn’t returned calls to the News.

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