In a rare turn of events, Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore did a 180 on a decision to deny Trail Minor Baseball (little league) a grant from the city’s Community Grant Funding cycle.
At the May 2 city council meeting Moore made a motion to rescind her vote from the April 19 meeting, when she and council narrowly voted 4-3 for the motion to reject Trail little league’s application for funding.
“I usually don’t have second thoughts about decisions we make but I made a mistake in the way I voted last time, because I actually didn’t see that the financials were in there,” said Moore. “That was my biggest concern.”
Trail’s little league program has included Rossland players for decades. The Trail Resident Program (TRP), however, has made it prohibitive for many Rossland families to afford recreation in Trail. Rossland residents are required to pay double the registration fee to participate in activities at Trail facilities, in addition to a sports pass.
In March, Trail council helped allay those costs, by voting to provide, on a one-time basis, the Trail little league with a cash grant in an amount equivalent to the sport passes – which cost $251 each, and are required by players from the City of Rossland and Electoral Area B.
By also cooperating with Trail little league’s request for the grant, Moore said it is a step forward for a new Rossland council to work with a new Trail council and come to a better alternative than the current TRP and sports pass scenario.
The grant will cover 50 per cent of 14 Rossland players’ TRP fees, or collectively about $2,000 of the $8,900 remaining in the community fund.
Coun. Stewart Spooner questioned the ability of the mayor or councillor to change their vote, but Moore clarified that according to the community charter a councillor has 30 days to reconsider.
Council originally turned down little league’s April 4 application for COVID Safe Restart Funding and made the suggestion that the group apply for Community Grant Funds, which was then denied by the April 19 vote.
Council voted in favour of rescinding Moore’s April 19 vote, and then Coun. Janice Nightingale made a motion to support the little league players from Rossland by covering 50 per cent of the TRP.
“This is not money that is going to any resident that doesn’t live in Rossland, this is going directly to support Rossland residents,” said Nightingale. “We are also not covering any fees associated with playing, we’re covering a portion of the additional punitive fees in lieu of taxation.”
Nightingale also noted that the motion follows the tenants of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Strategic Plan to seek affordable access to regional recreation amenities, especially for Rossland’s youngest residents, whose population increased by 17 per cent for ages 5-14 in Rossland according to the recent census.
“If we want to keep our community growing, we want to make it attractive to young families.”
Coun. Spooner argued that the funding was in fact subsidizing residents for going outside of the community to participate in activities, and believes the city should adopt a policy regarding it.
“It’s a small group getting a good deal, and there’s a lot of people who didn’t get any support, so it doesn’t make it fair,” said Spooner. “We should put our resources to things that deserve to be supported in an equitable way.”
Moore noted Spooner’s very valid points, adding that it is a one-year deal, and that further discussion regarding the TRP is required.
Council passed the motion to provide the grant to Trail little league by a vote of 3-2.