FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Council approved a $3 million investment to start up the North Peace Community Foundation, solidifying the city as a principal partner.
The Foundation will invest and dole out proceeds from agreements with BC Hydro in support of Site C. The Community Measures Agreement and the Regional Legacy Benefits Agreement are expected to provide approximately $58 million to the municipality over the next 70 years.
“Historical moment here, people,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman during Tuesday’s council meeting. “Congratulations. We’ve been working at this for a little while, and I’m glad we finally kicked that ball over the goal line.”
The approved funds will be transferred from the city’s General Infrastructure reserve to give the Foundation an operating endowment.
Once the Foundation becomes a registered charity, the grant will be distributed to the Foundation. CFO David Joy hopes the Foundation will be established before the end of the year.
” I just have no guarantees. It’s up to the Canada Revenue Agency,” said Joy during Monday’s council meeting.
The Foundation will take over supporting local charities, providing grant-in-aid and tax exemptions, which the city accounts for in its operating budget.
In a May 25th council report, CAO Milo MacDonald says the funds are one of many steps to make the Foundation self-sufficient. The city will provide grants-in-aid until the Foundation can distribute grants to local non-profits.
Originally, the city was to provide the organization with an interest-free loan to create an endowment fund to offset operating costs. However, the decision was turned down during the inaugural board meeting.
“It was determined that it is not feasible to lend money to the Foundation and then to expect it back from the donations solicited from external parties,” says CFO David Joy in the report.
Operating costs have been budgeted for by the city with $240,000 in 2021 and $130,000 for 2022 and 2023.