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Salmon Arm’s Bollywood Bang fundraiser draws appreciation but no break on facility rental

Council’s reasons for its ‘no’ include numbers of requests possible, expense of operating facilities
Dancers from Sparkle Dance Academy put on a show for the Bollywood Bang fundraiser at the SASCU Rec Centre in Salmon Arm in October 2019. (Cheryl Peterson/

Salmon Arm council won’t be supporting a request from the Bollywood Bang fundraiser to help out with the cost of using the Shaw Centre.

In a March 14 letter to council, organizers Sunny Dhaliwal and Mark Schneider noted that in 2019, the event raised $188,000 for the Shuswap Hospital Foundation.

“This year we have taken the event to a larger scale and we are looking to raise the bar on 2019’s donations in an attempt to raise $200,000 for the hospital and Salmon Arm Rotary Club.”

They said the funds raised at this year’s May 6th event will help improve the process, flow and staffing of the hospital’s emergency room.

In asking for the city’s help with facility rental, which includes three days’ rental of Hucul Pond (May 5, 6 and 7) and other fees at a total cost of $5,155, they said every penny saved would go directly to helping the community.

While council members expressed their appreciation for the fundraiser, they voiced their reasons for the ‘no’.

Coun. Debbie Cannon, council’s rep on the Shuswap Recreation Society said: “As much as it’s a great fundraiser, we have to have that policy in place because we would get every group that does a fundraiser wanting the recreation society to forgive the rental of the facility.”

She said perhaps council could help through its council initiatives fund, but she wanted to hear from other council members.

Read more: Bollywood Bang raises large sum for Shuswap Hospital Foundation

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond pointed out that the facility is an expensive operation to run, and costs everyone money – “people who go to fundraisers, people who don’t, people who swim, people who don’t…”

She said while she very much appreciates the work of the group and many others which raise funds for important community initiatives, “you’re not asking us for the money, you’re asking your neighbours.”

She said she thinks people who attend fundraisers would expect that part of the ticket fee goes to pay for the facility.

Mayor Alan Harrison raised two points. One, that the city provides about $60,000 for grants in aid which the Shuswap Community Foundation disburses for the city, with a deadline to apply of Dec. 31 every year.

“I would encourage any group that’s a non-profit that has things they want to support, make sure you apply. There’s no guarantee – the Shuswap Community Foundation would make decisions on what monies would be given.”

Secondly, he said if the city provides relief for a fundraiser, “basically what we’re saying to the taxpayer is, we think you should donate to this and we’re taking your money and we’re putting it there.”

He said that’s because the funds have to be replaced and the city would have to come up with the monies from somewhere else.

“I don’t feel good about saying to somebody else, my neighbour, that this is where you should donate your money… I don’t think I should be making that decision for others.”

He said he has tickets to the event so he feels he has donated.

Cannon asked if a letter could be sent directing the organizers to apply to the community foundation for a grant in aid. City staff agreed to write a letter.

Read more: Shuswap Hospital Foundation breathing easier with grant for pulmonary test equipment

Read more: Good news deposited in campaign to protect Shuswap Lake from algal blooms
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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