To see a municipality directly issue a challenge to their neighbouring town is much less common.
But that is exactly what the Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet has done to the Town of St. Anthony.
For the past decade, councillors in St. Lunaire-Griquet have participated in a fundraising effort for the Janeway Children’s Hospital. But this year, the group has decided to change its charity, to help a local organization in need.
Last night at the town’s bi-weekly council meeting, all six councillors in attendance voted in favour of donating the funds to the local Boys and Girls Club in St. Anthony, an organization that many local children are part of. The club lost 55 per cent of its core funding after a decrease by the provincial government in operating grants late last year.
Mayor of St. Lunaire-Griquet Dale Colbourne suggested making it a friendly competition between towns.
“St. Lunaire-Griquet town council would like to issue a challenge to St. Anthony town council to see how much money both towns can raise for the local boys and girls club after their funding was recently slashed,” Colbourne said of the core funding cuts the organization has received.
There is no specific fundraiser St. Lunaire-Griquet challenged St. Anthony to, but they have decided to replicate the one they took part in last year.
A tollbooth was set up in front of the town hall last June. The town raised some $1,600 from it.
Locals were notified well in advance, and were not required to pay to pass. But the councillors had a bit of fun with it. Two at a time they “blocked” the road holding buckets and received donations from passers-by.
This year, they are hoping to do it in late June. Anyone that makes a donation will get a tag for their vehicle’s dashboard to show they have supported the cause.
Last year, Colbourne said, some people didn’t have any cash on them and said they would return. Although many thought they wouldn’t be back, she confirmed those that said they would returned with cash for the donation bucket.
Some even paid several times during their commute, by choice.
“It was great to see so many people showing support,” Colbourne said.
It was discussed that possibly the change in the charity might deter people from giving as much, but Deputy Mayor Wanda Hedderson disagreed.
“We can go back to the Janeway or a different charity next year,” she said. “I just think we should support something local.”
It was a unanimous decision to go ahead with the Boys and Girls Club as their charity.