Penticton revises municipal grants policy

New policy separates grants into categories for better comparison

Grants may not be the biggest single part of the City of Penticton budget, but they generate some of the biggest discussion around the council table, both at budget time and throughout the year.

Over the last few years, city council has sought different ways of reducing not only the dollar value given out, but the time council and staff spend dealing grants. That’s included discussing shifting the burden to the unelected Fiscal Advisory Committee and asking the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan to lend a hand.

Both those ideas failed to get the approval of council, but a new municipal grant policy introduced this week, got council’s unanimous support.

The new policy separates grant requests into two different groups: sustainable and seed, referring to groups that get ongoing funding and new events receiving assistance getting started.

“If it is new and seed money, the policy does talk about weaning it down over three years,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “But there are other events that require sustainable from the city from year to year.”

The new policy also breaks down grant requests in three categories to make comparison easier: arts, culture and heritage; health, safety and social services; parks, recreation and sport.

Jakubeit said breaking requests down into categories is a key factor in the new policy so council is comparing events to events and social enterprises to social enterprises.

“They have a different impact to the community than an event does,” said Jakubeit.

The new policy also seeks to identify applications for visitor-oriented events, like the Scotties and apply criteria based on the Eventful Penticton strategy, which seeks to target events that bring the most benefit to the community.

“The value comes from it matching those that are likely to visit Penticton and likely to perhaps relocate here,” said Chad Douglas, sports and events project manager. “There is value to having national attention given to Penticton through events like Rogers Hometown Hockey.

“I do think we need to be clear, working with Travel Penticton, on what our market is, what are strong suit is. Then we have to support events that fit into that strong suit.”

Under the new grant recipients will be expected to report back to the city on outcomes, other funding sources, past performance and demonstrate alignment with council objectives.

“Organizations will identify and track outcomes specific to their categories, some of which will come from communications surrounding the city’s Official Community Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, etc.,” reads the report delivered to council.