Unbearable development fees charged by the City of Ottawa, coupled with disappointing fundraising showings, are coming out as major barriers for the Legion’s new multi-million dollar building.
The Legion announced its ambitious plans for an updated building around this time in 2017, which would see their current building (constructed in the ’30s) demolished and replaced with something more modern.
But with development fees of at least $300,000 — in addition to the $100,000 the Legion has already spent to-date — getting that new building will be a challenge, said Judy Campbell, president of the Stittsville Legion branch.
“This is what’s stalling us and this is why we’re trying to aggressively fundraise and do what we can,” Campbell told StittsvilleCentral.ca.
She suggested one thing that may be helpful would be getting the city to defer the development fee for years — or decades.
In February of this year, the Legion began the main component of its fundraiser — the sale of engraved commemorative bricks that, for $250, can become a part of the new building when it is built.
But out of a goal to sell 5,000 bricks (which would raise $1.25 million), the Legion has only sold about 50, raising $12,500.
Campbell said she suspects some people are nervous about donating to construct the new building before shovels are in the ground — but adds that they won’t be able to do that without reaching a critical mass in fundraising.
“We just need to get the town behind us,” Campbell said. “You can go online and choose a brick for a loved one, a veteran, a business, a family. It could be for anything… (and) it’ll help to get our new Legion.”
“If for some reason we fail and this does not happen, we have all the records and the money will be given back,” Campbell said.
In addition to the bricks, Campbell is also seeking the possibility of gaining corporate sponsorship from the business community. The Legion was pleased to have received a $5,000 donation from the Lions Club, which then challenged other local groups to match or exceed their donation, she said.
“We also have an account (for) if anyone wants to donate work-in-kind or money,” Campbell added.
They have also sought funding from the federal government, by applying for a $1 million grant to make the building fully accessible, which would be a major upgrade from the current building. However, Campbell said she doubts they will receive the full grant amount if successful in their application.