‘Portbucks’ program questioned

  • Feb. 24, 2012 5:00 p.m.

A Port Clements resident is raising questions about the village’s popular “Portbucks” program. The program distributes a $25 gift certificate to every household in the village just before Christmas. The certificates can be spent at local businesses or put towards residents’ utility bills. Residents can also donate their certificates to needy families or groups like the SPCA. The money comes from the village’s Gwaii Trust Christmas grant. But Travis O’Brien told council Monday (Feb. 20) that it might be time to take a second look at the program, given that almost the only business left in Port where people can spend their certificates is Bayview Market. He asked how much the program cost to administer and what other ways there might be to spend the money. “I would like to see something with more of a broad-stroke social benefit,” he said. Mayor Wally Cheer said the village has considered several ways of spending the annual $10,000 Gwaii Trust Christmas allocation. Some of the money goes to Tlell and some goes to the seniors. Using a portion to distribute a gift certificate to every household seems like a fair way to make sure everyone benefits, he said. “It’s a lot more flexible than any system we’ve thought of,” he said. Administrator Kim Mushynsky told Mr. O’Brien that if he has other ideas, he should bring them to council because there is lots of time to consider them before Christmas comes around again.