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Castlegar turns down queen committee grant

It remains to be seen whether Castlegar’s youth ambassadors will receive city funding to help them travel to out-of-town events.

City council denied a request this week from the queen committee for $5,000 because it doesn’t square with their grants policy, but agreed to look at including the funds in their annual budget, as the organization also asked.

The queen committee hosts the Miss Castlegar program and requested the money to support youth ambassadors travelling to represent the city in other communities.

Councillor Cherryl MacLeod said she felt uneasy with a staff recommendation to deny the request and wanted another look at the policy.

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“I don’t know that they ask us for a lot, and I think that is a big part of them representing us,” she said. “I also believe sports teams represent us when they go out of community … It seems like a real slap to to say that we’re not going to help them when they’re doing this for all of us.”

However, councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff explained the current policy wasn’t arrived at lightly. “We heard from a lot of businesses here that city money was going out of our community,” she said, adding the policy “took months and months” to craft.

“It was a humongous process to get where we are … They [queens committee] do a lot of things in our community, so they can reapply and keep that money here.”

Other councillors also struggled with the decision, but ultimately agreed to deny the request and move the subject to budget talks, where it could be added as a line item.

The queen committee will also be encouraged to reapply for grants that conform to the city’s policy.

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