Insurance policy to protect volunteers

Free labour: Councillor questions volunteers doing municipal work.

The district wants to make sure volunteers doing work for the betterment of the municipality are insured.

Sicamous council is mulling over a volunteer policy intended to support anyone wishing to volunteer to take on projects for the district that will help beautify the community and/or promote civic pride. The catch is making sure volunteers and the district are protected in case there is an accident.

District financial services director Ruth Walper noted that prior to 2006, Sicamous paid its municipal insurer $125 to provide limited accident coverage for volunteers. That ended in 2006 as volunteers had not come forward for a number of years.

“I think that we’ve got a ton of volunteers in this community that do volunteer for many things,” Mayor Darrell Trouton explained at a committee of the whole meeting earlier this month. “They are not being recognized in this but we should have some means of allowing that.”

Coun. Fred Busch asked what sort of activities the mayor envisioned volunteers doing that would normally be done by district staff. Trouton said there were people who weren’t on staff who wanted to help decorate the municipal hall for Christmas. He said this was not well received.

“They could be painting street lights,” said Trouton. “I know down at the beach wharf or the dock, there’s areas down there that have not been painted. Hand railings. There might be lampposts that need repainting.”

“Isn’t that why we have staff?” asked Busch.

“Possibly,” replied Trouton.

Coun. Terry Rysz said the policy doesn’t have to speak to specifics, but opens the door for whatever there might be.

Works services manager Grady MacDonald noted one part of the draft policy that didn’t sit well with him, that volunteers would evaluated at the end of a project.

“I don’t feel real comfortable in doing an evaluation on a volunteer that’s not getting paid,” said MacDonald. “If they do a crappy job and we’re honest and truthful about it, that could come back to bite you.”

Trouton suggested this would protect the district from work that may not be entirely what was envisioned

“If we get somebody to volunteer painting, we supply the paint and they paint everything, but  things don’t go so well, we need to be able to have some kind of a, “say listen, you know what, you’ve come forward but, um, maybe this isn’t the job for you,” laughed Trouton.

 

Busch was the only councillor to vote against the policy.

 

 

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