I want to express my gratitude that the Valemount council is considering a suggestion I made to them: setting aside say $200,000 for a large project.

I know my suggestion could upset my peers so, I want to explain myself and seek more support for it.

As a former member of the CBT Community Initiatives committee, I have been concerned about the large amount of money available this year – more than $500,000. Actually, many of the committee members at the end of the last adjudication felt the same. We felt that setting aside say $200,000 for a large project that has community support would be a good idea.

Sometimes the committee feels pressure to give large amounts of money to projects, even though they may not have been sustainable in the long run or don’t have a great community impact.

Some organizations are just good at grant writing. Often these organizations are able to get money for their projects while there are significant gaps in the community not being met. This is usually because the organization or cause is missing a great advocate like say Curtis for VARDA.

I would like this $200,000 be used for projects that can’t access other grants. I would, for example, like to see the community invest in a seniors’ facility that provides more support services including care so that seniors do not have to leave the community during their last years.

At a time when Valemount has a dearth of mortgage-paying jobs, a lack of affordable housing, poor air quality, few winter heating options and nonexistent seniors’ care, we need to channel the innovative forward-thinking spirit of yesteryears – the likes of multi-vocational Fulton McKirdy, the broad mindedness of Bob Beeson and the forward thinking first mayor of Valemount Sandy MacLean.

Doing so we would  honour the elders that have paved the way.

I want us to be excited about how we’re contributing and uplifting our entire community. Valemount can do more when we look at grants and taxes in the context of how much we can push it to work for the larger good. And this requires more innovative thinking, risk taking, collaboration , forward thinking and changing the way we award grants.

I want an entrepreneurial spirit reflected in governance and municipal services. Other B.C. municipalities and First Nations are redefining their scope of work – Fernie, Whistler, Smithers and the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation. We need to do it too.

I hope this idea for using some of the CBT Community Initiatives funding as seed money for a much needed and big impact project gets some traction with our local government, local organizations and residents.

We need to look out for not just our interests or passions but for others in the community as well.

Rashmi Narayan