The Leduc Boys and Girls Club can focus on operations after the City of Leduc wrote off a $125,000 capital debt.
General Manager of Community and Protective Services, Darrell Melvie, told councillors at the regular City of Leduc council meeting May 12 in 2007 the Boys and Girls Club wanted to be integrated into the Leduc Recreation Centre facility due to the condition of the old house the Club was housed in at the time.
“Council at the time thought it was a great idea and it was,” said Melvie.
In 2009, a Licence of Occupancy was approved with the conditions being that the Club would pay $14,000 a year to cover its share of the utilities, maintenance and custodial costs for the youth centre. In addition, the Club would pay $200,000 for the City to construct the actual space.
The Club’s board agreed as they were confident that in addition to the $75,000 they had raised they would receive a grant from the provincial government’s Community Facilities Enhancement Program. The Club did pay $75,000 to the City but in January 2011 they were turned down for the CFEP grant. Despite searching for other resources, the Club was unable to come up with the remaining $125,000 and asked for the City to forgive the debt.
“When this all started, when they were still in that house, the house was in a state of disrepair that would’ve cost a lot of money to bring it to a standard to provide this service to children safely,” said Councillor Dana Smith. “It made sense for them to move to the LRC.”
Smith added that the Club’s board is being fiscally responsible with the operating budget but having this debt hanging over their heads is making things difficult which is why she was in favour of forgiving the debt.
Councillor Terry Lazowski agreed.
“Nothing is ever for sure until it’s for sure and we knew that at the time. Asking them to jeopardize (the programs) that is the wrong thing.”
Lazowski said the Club offers affordable programs to Leduc families who can’t afford to access some of the City’s other after school programs.
Because there are no budget or tax implications related to this, Councillor Glen Finstad said he too would support the debt relief. “This has zero impact on tis year’s budget. It’s a balance sheet washout.”
The Club’s history of providing affordable and quality after school programming and the effort they did make to pay the City garnered Councillor Beverley Beckett’s support.
“I really appreciate the effort that is being made…it speaks well to us to support this so it can continue.”