Special grant reaction mixed
Some groups may have to cut services

Cindy MacDougall
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 25/00) - Agencies looking for special grants from the city had mixed reactions to this week's recommendations on who will receive cash and how much.

"This is the third year in a row the city has funded St. John Ambulance, and we appreciate the support," said St. John Ambulance president Dave Connelly, regarding the decision to give the group $10,000.

"We asked for $40,000 for various specific community and youth services ... Now, it's a matter of doing what we can without 75 per cent."

Although the final decision on funding will be made at city council Monday, the corporate services committee of five councillors made its recommendations Tuesday.

The NWT Council for Disabled Persons was one of four groups denied funding altogether, because councillors decided accessibility was outside the city's jurisdiction.

Aggie Brockman, executive director of the council, said the recommendation shows a lack of knowledge on disability issues.

"I think we just need to become better at working with the city to make (Yellowknife) more accessible," she said. "And we have to have the city acknowledge its responsibility to do that."

She said she wasn't angry about the decision.

"I don't have time for negative energy," she said. "My job is to just keep plugging away."

The committee urged groups getting less money than requested to raise extra funds on their own.

Connelly said the group has already asked for, and received, donations from businesses. To ask brigade volunteers and youth members to raise money would distract from the whole purpose of the group, he said.

And when the first aiders do help at a community event, monetary appreciation is rare, Connelly said.

"It's our policy to offer first aid services at community events without asking for a fee. We do ask for a donations, and have never or rarely received them at city-supported events."

Sir John Franklin music teacher Bill Gilday said his music exchange group will be able to go to Toronto, even though its request was rejected.

"We had to raise $40,000 to go, and we only asked for $1,000, so it won't mean we can't go," he said. "I'm a little disappointed, but I won't quarrel with them."

Down on Yellowknife Bay, Snow King Anthony Foliot was pleased with the $5,000 he may receive.

"That's good," he said. "It will pay my salary of eight dollars an hour for 81 days, so it's good."

Unlike other groups, Foliot said he can and will continue with fund-raising efforts. In fact, he's set up a "buy a block" program to raise money for the snow castle and Folk on the Rocks.