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Township says ‘no’ to discounted hall rental rate for Scientists in School

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - Puslinch council is saying ‘no’ to a discounted rental rate for Scientists in School.

The group had sought to rent the Archie McRobbie Hall of the Puslinch Community Centre on Sept. 12 and 13.

Scientists in School is a science education charity dedicated to sparking children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and the environment, officials say.

The West Central Ontario office of Scientists in Schools (serving Guelph, Waterloo, Halton and Peel Regions) is located in Morriston.

“Our workshops are led by a team of passionate and knowledgeable presenters, many with professional and educational backgrounds in STEM,” stated correspondence from West Central Ontario regional manager Gail Touchie.

“These presenters bring in bins of specialized scientific equipment and materials to each workshop, and serve as role models for children, teachers and parents.”

Touchie added, “At the start of each school year, our West Central Ontario regional branch holds an annual kick-off meeting to prepare for the year ahead. At this meeting, we welcome our regional team of 60 presenters, share highlights from the previous year and goals for the upcoming year. This is also where presenters pick up many of their classroom paperwork materials.”

The group requested rental of the facility at a reduced, non-profit rate.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer asked about the township policy as to whether this organization would qualify.

“I like this organization and it has been a big benefit to my children. I’m not trying to be picky, I just want to know whether this group would qualify,” said Bulmer.

CAO Karen Landry said the wording of the policy is still being worked on.

However, she said the main thrust was that the organization was based in the township, predominantly served the township and was a not-for-profit group.

Mayor Dennis Lever said that in review of the website “this really is a national organization - most of the work is within the school rooms.” He noted there are fees charged to provide that service.

Councillor Susan Fielding noted the regional office is located in Morriston - “so they are located here.”

Councillor Ken Roth was not in favour of providing the discount, stating, “We seem to have a new one coming in every week, it’s getting a little out of hand.”

While Lever supported the work being done by the group, “I don’t really see this as being a local group.”

Lever said council must be cognizant of how wide the net is spread in giving discounts to various groups.

Council voted to reject the discounted rental request.

April 21, 2017


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