Fee for service agreements increased 

Whistler Museum funding boosted to $120,000 in anticipation of Olympic exhibit

Whistler council has decided to more than double its contribution to the Whistler Museum for this year and next.

On Tuesday, the seven council members unanimously voted in favour of boosting the museum's Fee for Service agreement to roughly $120,000 for the next two years - up substantially from the $58,000 figure they doled out last year.

Most of that cash, said Mayor Ken Melamed, will go towards the museum's planned exhibit for the Olympics. But some money might be carried over from previous years.

Melamed said council was comfortable increasing its contribution to the museum and two other community groups, WAG and MY Millennium Place Society, despite the tough economic year.

"There were slightly different rationale for all of them," said the mayor.

"I know in WAG's case...  it is reflective of the situation that without acknowledging increased costs, no budget can remain static."

He emphasized that the community could not possibly provide WAG's service at the same cost the non-profit society currently operates.

WAG received $60,000 this year from council, up $10,000 from 2008 and 2006.

Also, MY Millennium Place Society received $240,000 this year, compared to the $212,000 last year.

The other group that receives Fee For Service money, the Whistler Arts Council, was allocated the same amount of money this year as last year, $164,300.

As a result of budget troubles last year the municipality decreased its contribution to the Fee for Service program, from a total of $680,000 in 2007 to $530,000 in 2008. The total this year is approximately $584,000.

Meanwhile, council directed staff on Tuesday to write a "strongly worded letter" to the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, the Mount Currie Band and the Village of Pemberton asking them to also contribute to WAG.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler said WAG provides care and service to animals coming from areas outside Whistler.

"I believe 29 per cent come from Whistler, and the rest come from outside of Whistler. A very large number, I believe 42 per cent, come from Mount Currie.

"They are going to have to understand that our taxpayers are supporting a regional thing, and they are not helping out at all. I've really hit the wall with my patience on this."

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