June 14, 2016 - 1:06 PM
VERNON - Promoting the work of charitable organizations is proving easier said than done for the City of Vernon.
Local mayor and council decided not to promote organ donation on its website for fear of setting off a landslide of requests from other charitable organizations.
Council was approached last month by Amanda Poch of the 'Live Then Give' Organ Donation Advocacy Group. Poch asked the city to promote a poster and fact sheet in hopes of increasing donation rates in Vernon.
According to B.C. Transplant, 479 British Columbians were on the wait list for a transplant as of April 2015. Those interested in becoming an organ donor are asked to register online and reminded a decal on your driver’s license or care card is no longer sufficient.
The appeal struck a chord with Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who gave an emotional pitch for the fact sheet and poster to be featured on the city’s website.
“When you look at the waiting list, it’s pretty shocking,” Cunningham said. “Whatever we can do to promote it to the public, it’s a gift for those waiting.”
But city staff, and some members of council, felt that opening the door to one organization could lead to a lineup of others. Coun. Scott Anderson pointed out there are many causes people are passionate about.
“It will seem grossly unfair if we won’t put their cause on it (website),” Anderson said.
Staff reminded politicians they are the voice of the people and that making decisions about what goes on the site, and what doesn’t, could be tricky.
Council opted to display the information on its internal website and in staff rooms for employee information, but won’t promote the information publicly — at least for now. What they will do is revisit the topic in more depth to discuss what to do about such requests in the future.
“I have a concern that we can’t use what we do here to promote really important things in our community,” Cunningham said. “I just think we should have a discussion about how do we help these organizations in our community promote their causes.”
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