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Seniors push city for funding equity

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 02/23/2018 9:00 AM

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After several years of Steinbach city council offering grants to only a few local organizations, the Pat Porter Active Living Centre pressed them for some support on Tuesday night.

Since 2013, the city has refused funding for any community groups other than the Jake Epp Library, Mennonite Heritage Village, Steinbach Arts Council and Steinbach Chamber of Commerce.

While Pat Porter Centre president Doug Enns praised the services and activities currently provided in the city, he said a gap exists in service when it comes to supporting seniors.

He pointed out that 26 percent of Steinbach’s population is over age 55 and 16 percent over age 65.

"This is a very large gap that needs to be addressed," he told council on Tuesday.

Enns challenged them to adhere to the city’s mission, "to preserve the quality of life Steinbach is known for."

The centre, which has 270 members, receives about 25 percent of its operating costs from Southern Health but needs to fundraise another $200,000 to operate.

The bulk of revenue is received through facility rentals and the organization’s annual banquet which was held last month.

A grant in lieu of taxes from the city would help, Enns suggested.

In the last three years, the centre has amassed a debt of $38,572, not far off its combined property tax bill of $33,600 for the same period.

"Seniors and the families, friends and loved ones of seniors strongly urge the City of Steinbach council to rescind or amend the previously adopted motion that allows council to select community organizations only," he told them.

"This policy shows favoritism in the guise of fiscal management and does not support the community as a whole."

Mayor Chris Goertzen thanked Enns for the presentation and said the city would respond to their request for a grant in lieu of taxes.

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