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Woodlands County replaces old block party policy

Residents may apply for up to $500 to hold ‘rural community connections events’
Woodlands County Sign
Woodlands County councillors repealed the municipality's old 'block party' policy at their July 20 due to some potential liability issues.

BARRHEAD — Woodlands County councillors passed two motions at their July 20 meeting to repeal the county’s old “block party” policy and replace it with a new Rural Community Connections Grant policy. 

Community services coordinator Heather Anderson said the county’s legal counsel at Brownlee LLP had advised the Community Services Committee that the old policy’s reference to a block party permit could potentially put the municipality at risk. 

Block party permits would effectively put the county’s stamp of approval on such events, and if something disastrous happened, the county would potentially be liable, she indicated. 

The community services committee looked at the policy and decided to focus entirely on the grant aspect. 

After the committee made the proposed changes, the matter went before the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on June 2. 

At that time, councillors decided to send the policy back to community services to re-name the policy, which they did at their June 16 meeting. 

“I think (the new name) covers the feel of the intent and the purpose of the grant,” Anderson said. 

Under this new policy, grants of up to $500 are available to applicants to host a “rural community connections event.” The grant money can be used to pay for food, entertainment, decorations, invitations and “activity rentals.” 

Incidentally, Anderson said $3,000 had been re-allocated from June Parks and Rec month programming for the purpose of awarding any grants on a first-come first-served basis. 

Noting the policy requires grant applications to be sent in at least 30 days before the event, Coun. Jeremy Wilhelm asked if it would be possible to award some retroactive grants for events that were already held.  

Anderson said she would not recommend that from a policy perspective. CAO Gordon Frank then suggested the residents in question ask to appear before council as a delegation and make a special request. 

Reeve John Burrows added that after the past two years of COVID restrictions, he was "very happy” to see this policy before council.

Kevin Berger,

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