The West Vancouver Legion is hoping the next council will step up to help the legion at a time when that help is needed the most. And that time is now.
Much like legions across the country, West Vancouver legion is struggling to make ends meet as it faces dwindling membership and revenue from its operations. The legion has so far received only a partial exemption from the district on its taxes, but at a recent council meeting, a legion member appeared before the council to ask for a full tax exemption.
“We are not pushing problems to the council and we have been working hard to increase membership, but we are barely solvent. Any single extraordinary event like the flood four years ago could wipe us out,” said Douglas Brown, a treasurer at the legion.
“The exemption would be life-saving,” he added. Brown said the legion has managed to turn a small profit this year after consecutive years of losses, but the tax exemption of $7,000 would go a long way in helping the legion. The legion, he said, had currently close to nothing in savings as most of the $100,000 it had went towards repairs after a flood in 2014.
“We have done a lot to reduce expenses, we have trimmed out wages, we have conducted an energy review and we don’t put any money into the maintenance. We do the very basics that is needed because we simply don’t have the funds,” he said.
Brown said the council was willing to grant a full tax exemption but a district financial official told the council it is likely BC Assessment would reverse the decision on the partial exemption, something it has done in the past. Brown said the legion is now working with staff to start a process where it can access community grants, equivalent to the partial tax exemption of $7,000.
He said the legion is hopeful the next council will be sensitive to the financial constraints being faced by the legion. He is also calling upon the community support the legion by buying an annual membership of $65. There is no requirement for joining the legion except that you are 19 and a proof of citizenship.
Members can bring others to the legion and support the legion by patronising the bar. For a small fees, community members can also get access to space where they can host events such as birthday parties, anniversary functions, etc.