Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Councillor defends O’Keefe Ranch grant decision

By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star Published: September 04, 2013 1:00 AM
At least one Vernon politician isn’t impressed with lobbying efforts to restore funding for a historic site.  O’Keefe Ranch is urging residents to contact the City of Vernon and demand that full funding be maintained. “It’s fine to issue a press release but it should have been accompanied by strategies to be self-sufficient,” said Coun. Brian Quiring. “Telling everyone to phone their local politician is not the right approach. We want to see a significant effort by the ranch to increase revenue.” In May, council voted to continue with a $150,000 annual grant for the  city-owned historic site. But in 2017, that will drop to $100,000, followed by $50,000 in 2018 and $10,000 in 2019. In May, council voted to continue with a $150,000 annual grant for the  city-owned historic site. “Council made the right decision,” said Quiring. “The ranch needs to work towards being sustainable on its own.” In a release, the ranch states it supports the economy through 15,000 visitors annually, while also employing 18 seasonal staff. It also promotes the area through special events and provides an educational program to 3,000 students a year. “Vernon city council’s decision to reduce funding for the continued operations of the ranch is wrong,” said Glen Taylor, general manager of the non-profit society which operates the city-owned property under contract. “We have 146 years of heritage founding the settlement of this entire area. We should be protecting it and investing in it because when it is gone, we have nothing.” Council’s decision was based on a core services review by KPMG but Taylor says that, “at no time was O’Keefe Ranch approached by KPMG to answer any questions or supply financial information.” The ranch is urging residents to contact council and demand full funding remain as is. “Our community needs to stand up and say no,” said Taylor. Support comes from Coun. Catherine Lord. “I didn’t like the decision originally and would like to see it revisited,” said Lord, a former ranch manager. Lord is concerned reduced city funding will lead to fewer senior government grants. “It’s worth preserving and I would pay more to preserve it,” she said.
 Update: "But in 2014, that will drop to $100,000, followed by $50,000 in 2015 and $10,000 in 2016.''The posting above was corrected as to the timing Updated: September 04, 2013 7:16 PM

Don Quixote Note: The phase out of the  Annual Grants Starts in 2017 not in 2014 as per article.
Minutes  May 13,2013   (P.25-27 has details of resolutions defeated and finally approved motion.)
The actual final resolution passed by Council :
Moved by Councillor Quiring, seconded by Councillor Lord:
THAT Council phase out funding to O'Keefe Ranch over three years
2016 $150,000    2017 $100,000    2018 $ 50,000
AND FURTHER, return to the contract value of $10,000 as specified in the agreement with O'Keefe Ranch Historical Society.

CARRIED, with Councillors Spiers, Nicol and Mayor Sawatzky opposed.

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