Over the last few weeks, we here at the Lakes District News have received several phone calls from people complaining about the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund. I have heard comments from a number of people who have said they feel that either all the dollars have already been spent, or that the money is not being dispersed properly.
This is just simply not true.
I have since spoken with several members of the temporary committee who have explained the process to me. First and foremost it is entirely necessary to have the funds administered by a society.
The temporary committee, who incidentally are all volunteers, are held liable for the way the donations are dispersed. They not only have an obligation to ensure the funds will be dispersed in a fair and appropriate manner, but they have an obligation to the donors to ensure the funds are distributed properly.
These funds just cannot be distributed on a first come first serve basis, and it just can’t be a free for all, there has to be some structure and organization.
Many people feel that things are not happening fast enough but behind the scenes these volunteers have been working long hours to ensure that things are running like a well oiled machine.
To become a society, a lawyer needs to be hired, which was done and kindly those hours were also donated by a local lawyer. The forms are then processed through the government. Usually this entire process takes upwards of six months to a year, but because of the situation things have been fast tracked.
Currently, no one can touch the money. Money can go into the fund, but cannot come out until the society has been set up and a board of directors has been elected. After which, the temporary committee will no longer be involved in the process.
There is a tentative date of March 19 set up for the annual general meeting, in which the board will be elected. This date could be moved up depending on when the society paper work comes through so keep an eye on the Lakes District News or check the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund’s website at www.burnslaketragedyfund.org. Seats on the board are filled by election and are open to everyone.
A criteria for the distribution of the funds has also been set up and you can go to the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund’s website to download the forms and see if you qualify.
I will again stress that at this point in time, no money has come out of the fund and won’t until the society has been officially set up and directors are in place.
The temporary committee are all volunteers who have just been trying to do something good and help our community move forward, so go easy on them.
For information about the food bank go to page 20 of this paper and again please be patient – volunteers are working as fast as possible.