A bursary honouring the late Terry Halifax, a former Inuvik town councillor, caused some discussion about precedent setting at the council meeting Wednesday, Jan. 10.
Denny Rodgers had approached council at the previous committee of the whole seeking $5,000 for the bursary, which would pay out yearly to high school students as a way of honouring Halifax’s legacy.
Though council members all seemed to agree that Halifax should be honoured, some expressed trepidation at the $5,000 ask.
Deputy mayor Steve Baryluk said in the spirit of fiscal responsibility, he would suggest a lower amount and mentioned how the decision could set a precedent going forward for council donations.
“I support the idea of the bursary,” said Coun. Alana Mero. “I also understand where Steve is coming from. I think we need to note somewhere in the minutes that this is an exception because Terry was a member of council at the time of his death.”
She said she would be more comfortable with a number in the $2,000 to $2,500 range.
“This is precedent setting,” said Coun. Clarence Wood.
“There are a number of individuals in the past from the town who should be considered in the same light. If we do it for one, we should do it for all. I just don’t feel its appropriate, especially as it’s pointed out we’re coming up to some lean times here. We’ve got to be very careful as far as donations go.”
Coun. Vince Sharpe then suggested $3,000, to which Coun. Natasha Kulikowski asked to move it down to $2,500, saying that still left some budget dollars for future donations.
Council voted in favour of the $2,500 donation to the Terry Halifax bursary.
“I think bringing this back at this time was a good move to remember Terry,” said Mayor Jim McDonald.
“He certainly was a big part of our council at the time. I didn’t always agree with him and we certainly had some spirited debates but the fact was that after the meetings when we walked out we could still talk and were still friends.”