It seems there really is “more than one road to Rome”

I’m really not sure about this one…so I’ll let you decide.
When the Town of Georgina purchased the former Sutton Public School with an eye on turning it into a community hub, they were approved for almost $1 million in Federal funding to help them repurpose the building. The LINK funding scenario looked like this: Town of Georgina taxpayers—$2.88 million; FedDev funding— $990,000.
Early last year we learned that the Town of Georgina lost the FedDev funding because the project was not finished within the FedDev agreed upon completion deadlines. By the fall of 2014, it was clear the Federal government was not going to let them off the hook and the Town decided to use taxpayer dollars to make up the difference until new funding opportunities were made available.
Then we heard about a FedDev funding program called the Investment in Regional Diversification (IRD) fund. It was open to help fund projects that would attract businesses, economic diversification and employment opportunities in communities facing economic stress. But, there was a catch. It was only open to not-for-profit organizations.
And so, the Town got creative and in the name of one of their LINK partners, the Georgina Trades Training Inc. (GTTI), an application was submitted for $1.1 million. For all intents and purposes, we believed this new FedDev funding program would replace the monies that were lost when the timing deadline was not met.
We’ve now learned that the fund administrators do not consider GTTI as a not-for-profit organization that has “economic development” as their mandate given their focus on education and training.
With these alarm bells going off, Town staff is ready to partner with the Ladies of the Lake and their Ontario Water Centre (OWC) initiative to submit another FedDev IRD application with the not-for-profit OWC as the applicant.
But, there is another catch to this funding program. Eligibility for the program includes this caveat: “Funding under this initiative is for costs incurred by the not-for-profit organization only; no transfer of funds to for-profit project participants will be permitted.”
And so it seems the Town will have to get really creative now and come up with a business plan that somehow brings the Water Centre’s mandate inside the bricks and mortar of the LINK. I wonder how they are going to do that. Judging by the way the ground continues to shift under this project, I suspect the long-awaited LINK business plan will have to go through yet another revision. Thank goodness for Microsoft Word.

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