A Royal Canadian Legion branch on the Kingston Peninsula is seeking a break from government to deal with the fees associated with its mechanical chairlift.
Legion Branch 62 in Clifton Royal installed the chairlift with the aid of a federal government grant of almost $10,000 so veterans and members with mobility issues could go up and down the stairs inside the building.
What the branch wasn't counting on were the associated costs of operating the chairlift.
"We have to have this thing inspected twice a year - three hundred dollars plus tax, twice a year," said Bob Beyea, the president of Branch 62.
Added to those fees, charged by a private inspector, is the province's annual licencing fee of $165.
And then, Beyea says, add in the cost of insurance and maintenance, pushing the annual operating cost of the chairlift to close to $1,000.
Costs are too much
"We have only about two hours running on this thing every six months, which is ridiculous," said Beyea. "It's a cost that we can't afford."
Legion member Royden Brien says they have asked the province for an exemption (to the annual licencing fee and inspection requirements.)
"The legions are having trouble," said Brien. "The members are getting older and dying."
"Our costs of operations for the building is about 40 dollars a day if you look at the total costs of everything," he said.
"The funds are drying up."
The chairlift was paid for with a grant from the federal government under the New Horizons program. But with no government program available to help pay for using it, Branch 62 may be forced to dip into its Poppy Fund - money collected through the annual fall poppy campaign - to pay those operational costs of the chairlift.
"Personally, we don't want to use that money for that particular reason," said Beyea. "There are other uses that we could use that for . . . for veterans in problem and needs."
Brian MacDonald, New Brunswick's legislative secretary for military affairs, said the provincial government is now looking into the matter to see if anything can be done to assist the Clifton Royal legion.