WCA volunteer board chair Steve Sinnott explains the vital nature of the situation. (Healey photo)

WAVERLEY: The Waverley Community Association has been given the go ahead to explore options of introducing an area rate to help pay the bills once funding from HRM stops next year.

At the WCA’s recently held AGM at the Waverley Legion, close to 45 of 50 Waverley residents in the crowd gave the WCA volunteer board the approval to investigate the possibility.

Without an area rate or some form of funding, once HRM stops its funding in 2022 that could see the Museum and many community events the non-profit organization supports and runs become non existent.

Before there was a slide-show presentation provided, several volunteers who work with or run programs that fall under the WCA spoke passionately about the group’s involvement and what the loss of it could mean.

Waverley resident and staunch volunteer Barry Dalrymple. (Healey photo)

One of those who spoke was former councillor, and Waverley resident, Barry Dalrymple.

“We have things most communities, only dream of,” he started in his speech before pausing to gather himself as emotions were swelling. “I have grandchildren. I want my grandchildren to have the things that we had that all of us have.

“I can’t think of any other way, any other means or any other ability to raise the money to keep our building, our community groups, our projects and all the stuff that makes us special. I really can’t.”

He said the WCA isn’t talking about a tonne of money, but something around $25,000 a year to operate the building with the costs to keep the lights on and building maintenance, but $30-35,000 a year would be something they’d love to have.

Currently, HRM’s funding of $23,000 a year since the past couple of years will end in 2022.

In 2019, the WCA learned from then councillor Steve Streatch that the service area rate would be ending.

It all stems from the sale of the building in 2011 and the fact no agreement was put in place at that time.

In a Jan. 17, 2019, article on The Laker News website, Streatch said it wasn’t the WCA’s fault this was happening, the onus was on HRM.

“I as your councillor want to accept partial responsibility for that,” said Streatch in an interview at the time. “You should not have been put in a corner where you felt that it was incumbent upon you to find a solution. This was HRM’s mistake, and we are going to fix it up.”

Kevin O’Halloran, one of the past presidents of the WCA, also spoke of his time involved giving the crowd a better understanding of how key to the community it is.

“The WCA truly does serve as a hub that enables other organizations to do good work,” he said. “By supporting one, you support them all.

“When one struggles, you’ll see others start to struggle. It’s important to kind of recognize that.”

Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon. (Healey photo)

What they don’t know is the exact cost per resident in the boundary area that would be charged, said Dalrymple. That is a work in progress and would be presented at a public meeting HRM would hold before any vote is held.

“We don’t know the actual number, and we have kept the HRM completely out of this process right now. It is strictly a community process,” he said, acknowledging that they asked Deagle Gammon for some preliminary info on what a process like this would involve. “What we are generally asking our community tonight is permission to at least move forward with the process.

“I can guarantee you from going through these many, many, many times once HRM takes over, it becomes a very formal, detailed lawful process.

“At the end of that process, there HRM puts on a public meeting just like this.”

HRM Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon attended the AGM. She spoke for a brief time and answered questions from citizens.

At the AGM, a new volunteer board was elected. Steve Sinnott was elected as the new president.