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Wellesley looks to streamline process for residents seeking fundraising help

Wellesley residents seeking the township’s help in fundraising efforts – say through the waiving of facility rental fees, for instance – will now be asked to go through local service clubs rather than approaching council, under a new policy discussed this week.

In council chambers on Tuesday night, recreation director Brad Voisin tabled a recommendation asking that groups looking to host occasional fundraisers contact their local Lions Club, Optimist Club, Kiwanis or similar organization to ensure things run smoothly.

“In the past, we get groups that come to council looking for waived rental fees for a special event to raise money for a family in need, or a sports team going to a championship,” he said. “In the past we have put council on the spot. I did some research on what other municipalities would do and I tried to find something that would fit here, and this is what I came up with.”

Council only gets requests to waive facility fees once or twice a year. According to township bylaws, service clubs get 30 per cent off facility rental fees.

Voisin said he’s concerned about the running of the events themselves, noting that those with little experience might be better served by recruiting groups well-versed in throwing fundraising events to lend a hand.

“We just want people to join up with groups that are familiar with putting things like this together,” he said.  “The service clubs are used to putting on things like this and we are more comfortable with them.”

Coun. Herb Neher asked Voisin if the township’s service clubs knew they were being asked to take care of events like this.

“Have you talked to the service clubs? It is up to them now. If someone comes to them and says, ‘hey, my brother is ill, I want to do a fundraiser,’ especially in smaller communities, will it be up to them to say no?” he asked.

For Mayor Joe Nowak, the recommendation from staff was that residents could still come to council to ask about waiving facility fees for a fundraiser, but the preferred option would be to go to a service club for help.

“We are not closing the door,” he said. “Council can either decide to stick with the recommendation or decide to overrule it.”

Voisin said the main reason for his recommendation is to allow fundraisers to move ahead without waiting for a council meeting and for staff to prepare a full report for every request.

“Sometimes it is a time-sensitive issue,” he said.

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