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WHO conference gets fund from town after mix-up


After being discussed at Monday’s council meeting here, it was revealed yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) committee will be getting money from the town to help cover costs for the upcoming 11th-annual International Conference on Safe Communities—as it was going to all along.

The news was announced at a special meeting held at the Civic Centre, in response to a request from the WHO committee asking the town to donate usage of municipal facilities, the Memorial Sports Centre in particular, for the conference being held here May 7-9.

While the town didn’t say it would allow free usage of the facilities, it had already penciled in $8,700 in its 2002 budget to go towards the event. “The group had asked for it in the council budget process. They just had to supply their financial statement, which they did,” said CAO Bll Naturkach yesterday afternoon.

“The issue of in lieu services is a non-point. Had it been remembered that the money was there from the start, it never would have gone this way,” he added.

The amount is based on a per capita levy paid to be paid to the conference organizers, which apparently the committee had overlooked.

“I think there was some miscommunication on all parts,” said Doug Anderson, chair of the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition this morning.

“I don’t know if I didn’t get the paper, I overlooked the paper, or what.”

The confusion came when the committee was expected to pay for use of the sports centre despite the fact when the space was booked, the contract was a “list of zeroes,” said Anderson.

“We, up until two weeks ago, believed use of the arena was being donated to us. Well, then we had a surprise,” he remarked, referring to council’s decision to refer the request for in lieu service to its administration and finance committee at its March 25 meeting.

Anderson noted the levy payment will help cover some of the costs of the facility rental, as well as some of the capital purchases, such as lighting grates, 50 strings of lights, and an access ramp, which will remain at the sports centre for other groups to use after the conference is over.

But Anderson noted the mix-up shouldn’t reflect badly on the organizers of what’s gearing up to be the event of a lifetime.

“The support by the community itself has been fantastic. We have 600 volunteers working to make it a world-class event,” he said.

“Everywhere you go, people are saying this is a great thing,” added Anderson. “The town is going to shine.”

Also at yesterday’s special meeting, council denied a request for $27,846 to cover the cost of a building permit for the River Walk condominium project.

“Back in February, the board, through its financial manager, asked for some financial assistance. But the matter was tabled on Feb. 25,” said Naturkach.

Council refused the request on the grounds the cost couldn’t be justified as the building permit fee wasn’t included in the $3.9 million estimate for condominium project.

“They knew they weren’t going to get it,” said Naturkach, who also sits on the condo board. “Now, the board’s going back to its manager, and looking into the matter.”

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