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LETTER: Rosslanders Need to Support George Grey

To the Editor:

I am one of the councilors from the City of Rossland who voted against giving cross- country skier George Grey a grant to help fund his Olympic training expenses. I am also one of the individuals living in Rossland who is working to raise the needed money through a community effort. Let me explain…

As a new councilor I am discovering just how challenging it can be to provide necessary services and stay within the very lean budget we’ve set for ourselves. Rossland residents provide 84% of the revenue that the City works with, and their taxes are high compared to other BC communities. It’s important to respect this situation and to use our community’s money wisely. The City’s 2009 budget has no provisions for extras such as the $10,000 grant Mr. Grey asked for, however council can – and does – provide in-kind services to good causes. Those who were present for the August 17th council meeting heard the passion in the voice of our Mayor Greg Granstrom, and saw his commitment to George Grey’s cause as he placed $20 on the table and called on townspeople to match his contribution. Listeners also heard councillors recognize the presence of many highly talented individuals in Rossland. Is it fair, one asked, to use taxpayer dollars to support the dreams of one talented individual and not all the others? In the end, it was deemed fairest to use those tax dollars for the good of the whole….

And now, as a resident of Rossland, I am happy to be part of a network of people who are looking for ways to raise the money that George Grey needs to support his training. Creative plans are bubbling to the surface, donation jars will start showing up at local businesses soon, and a trust account has been set up at the local credit union to receive donations. Those wishing to help with fundraising are welcome to contact Kathy Moore at (250) 362-3319, or km@2cats.net , and those who wish to donate money may deposit directly to the George Grey Olympic Fund at the Nelson and District Credit Union, 2071 Columbia Avenue, Rossland, BC V0G 1Y0. I am donating to this fund, and I encourage Rossland residents to contribute as well.

I know that together we Rossland residents can raise the $10,000. In fact, I think there’s a pretty good chance of surpassing Mr. Grey’s goal, and also raising funds for Rossland resident and para-olympian Kimberly Joines while we’re at it. The people in this passionate, engaged, sport-loving and supportive town always rise to the occasion when someone’s in need. Mr. Grey’s cause is a worthy one, and so is Kimberly Joines’. Please join in to help George – and Kimberly - on their Olympic journeys.

Sincerely,

Hanne Smith