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Kate’s Rest, Hudgin Log House seek municipal project status

Two organizations deemed of value to the County did not receive ‘projects of community interest’ (PCI) status from the municipality at Tuesday’s council meeting thought one may still gain the designation.

Council had requested a staff report to consider requests by Kate’s Rest and Moses Hudgin Log House as PCIs which allows for charitable donations to be received by the County and tax receipts issued.

Staff had recommended neither project be designated despite having “unquestionable value” to Prince Edward County, as other, potentially more helpful financial avenues exist for the projects.

Council, acknowledging many letters and indications from the community, decided it would show support for Kate’s Rest by sending a letter encouraging Prince Edward Lennox Addington Social Services to explore funding and other options to help.

Kate’s Rest, on Big Island, is a supported living community that is home for 19 residents, many of whom manage social and economic challenges. Funding for the community is gathered from a pool of residents’ pension, disability and social security benefits, though it is stated these funds provide just enough to finance its operations.

Several visits to Kate’s Rest from the fire and building departments resulted in inspection orders for health and safety conditions on the site for it to remain operational. The group’s deputation to committee of the whole earlier this month stated that without any financial assistance, and acknowledging the limited operational funds it receives, the costs to bring the property into compliance are beyond the property owners’ ability to pay.

“As it is understood by the finance department the fund raising (for PCI) must be related to a tangible project in the community interest with a beginning and an end date. It cannot be an open-ended reimbursement program that can be used to offset long-term operating expenses,” said Noah Lister-Stevens policy and programs analyst, in his report.

Kate’s Rest received not-for-profit status in July and intends to seek charitable status.

“Being a not-for-profit organization will be helpful when the organization seeks funding, and should Kate’s Rest develop a project that could be identified to be in the interest of the community they would be encouraged to return,” said Lister-Stevens.

Receiving new information, council asked staff to have another look at the request to make Moses Hudgin Log House a project of community interest. The staff report had indicated owner Nature Conservancy Canada could accept and distribute the donations. It was learned that is not the case in this instance.

Its concern is similar to the municipality’s in making Kate’s Rest a PCI, in that there is a degree of liability and a worst-case scenario of having to take over the project if it failed.

The historic log cabin is on a property in South Marysburgh owned by the Nature Conservatory of Canada land trust and supported by two organizations (South Shore Joint Initiative and Friends of Moses Hudgin).

The project sought recognition as a project of community interest to attract donations to help finance renovation and renewal of the aging building and restore it to active conservation use – a $100,000 project expected to take about three years.

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