Community grant policy tightened up by Langley Township council

Council adopts 'we look after our own' rule, asking for proof that mainly Langley Township residents benefit.

Community groups will have to show they serve mostly Township of Langley residents if they want to get municipal grants in the future.

Under a we-look-after-our-own rule adopted Monday, applicants for Township money must now prove that most of their members are Township residents and that a majority of the people they serve are Township residents.

If they can’t, the amount of money they get may be trimmed to reflect the actual percentage.

Non-profits will have to submit a copy of their annual general meeting minutes, which must list their directors.

The measures were unanimously approved Monday at the urging of Councillor Angie Quaale, who said Township grants “shouldn’t ever be viewed as easy money.”

Councillors Kim Richter and Blair Whitmarsh were not present for the vote.

Councillor Charlie Fox said the measures were “long overdue.”

“It’s a bit more work [for the non-profits] but it’s not being overbearing,” Fox said.

The move comes in the wake of the latest debate over the amount of money the Township gives local non-profit groups.

At their April 27 meeting, council voted to approve $334,410 in grants for more than 100 projects and organizations.

It would have been $15,000 more, but that would have meant going over budget and dipping into the Township contingency fund.

Most of council balked at that, and voted instead to trim the total by cutting some “Nothing Without Effort” grants that go towards community beautification efforts.

During that discussion, several members of council said they favoured tightening the rules for grants to non-profit organizations.

Councillor Bob Long was concerned that adding more requirements could discourage people from applying.

Long said the small amount of money the Township provides to the many, largely volunteer community groups produces benefits that go beyond the dollar amounts in question.

“It’s money very, very well spent,” Long told the April 27 meeting.

Long said he “held his nose” and voted for the new rules on Monday, May 11, because he supports the principle of transparency.

Among other things, Township grants will cover the cost of renovation and repair work at 10 facilities, including things like new windows at the Brookswood seniors’ hall, a wheelchair ramp at the Fort Langley Community Hall and power washing the Milner community chapel and hall.