Recreation department introducing new bursary program in Rossland

Rossland Recreation has created a new kids bursary fund that it hopes will assist low-income families.

Rossland Recreation has created a new kids bursary fund that it hopes will assist low-income families with the expense of social and recreational programs.

Robin Hethey, from the recreation department informed council of the move, which came after community members expressed a desire to be able to donate money to the recreation department to be made available for those families that need it for recreation based programs.

The program would pay $100 for a program to a child in need.

Hethey noted that the department has had trouble in the past giving out of donations, as they have to keep them at “an arms length” from the department. They used the Rossland News, as well as the Rossland Legion to get around those difficulties.

“With the recent donation of almost $7,000 from the Jr. and Sr. Warriors Teams, the recreation department reviewed our processes and created a Bursary Fund that would be administered in-house,” Hethey wrote. “The “at-arms-length” concerns would be addressed by having the council approve the applications in a confidential manner. The recreation department would simply distribute the information and collect the applications.”

Coun. Tim Thatcher said it is an excellent initiative for kids that are less fortunate to get involved with physical activities, but he said they have to be cautious, since there is only the donated money to use.

Coun. Kathy Moore asked if they might be able to hold some of the money back so that over time it could be invested and grow.

Corporate Officer Tracey Butler said that once council made a decision, staff would look into ways the money could be leveraged.

Moore suggested that instead of having a sponsor in the community, who says whether or not the child is eligible, families could just present a tax return, which she said was something tangible, instead of just someone’s word for it.

“If we’re trying to make it needs based then we should make it more structured,” Moore said, adding that the sponsor idea sounded “mushy” to her.

Moore made an amended to have applications go to city staff instead of council and have applicants show a tax return to prove eligibility.